The national theme for Black History Month 2023 is Black Resistance.
If you ask people in the Black community what Black Resistance means to them, you will receive a variety of answers based on experiences and perspectives. You may hear some talk about establishing wealth, others on building a legacy; perhaps some might say reinvesting in the community or maybe self-education.
Black Resistance is actively resisting oppressive systems and structures that enable systemic racism. To me, Black Resistance means paying it forward or reinvesting in my community. I come from very humble beginnings. I won’t bore you with all the details of my childhood. What I will say is that when it was time for me to go to college, I had no financial support. Less than two years later, I tapped out with my associate degree and 12 loans under my belt. Even after that experience, it still took me several years to get off the career struggle bus. A lot of Black students find it hard to get started after graduating high school with locating money to pay for the totality of their college career. Therefore, they must choose a different path.
It can be devastating for students to be denied financial aid and miss out on the college experience. They may miss out on some of the social aspects of attending college, like meeting new people, cultivating lifelong friendships, and networking for future opportunities. Additionally, they may miss out on experiences such as internships, study abroad programs, and other extracurricular activities that can help them develop skills and explore their interests. Without these experiences, students may feel like they are missing out on an important part of their development and may even face more limited career options.
What Is Applied Doing About It?
In the last two years, the Black at Applied Community of Interest has fostered a strong partnership with 5 Strong Scholarship Foundation – an organization reinvesting in the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) space.
5 Strong provides bright young scholars an opportunity to attend an HBCU (via full-tuition scholarship), who otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to attend.
Their program includes cohorts to pass multiple round intake interviews, attend college prep sessions, mentorship sessions, and reach checkpoints/benchmarks through each college semester.
Their program emphasizes “giving back” and “paying it forward” – not just in their immediate community, but back to the 5 Strong program and corresponding HBCU.
A Bit of Background on HBCUs
HBCUs first came on the scene after the Civil War as a safe place for Black Americans to get an education and often included primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. As former President George H.W. Bush stated in April 1989, “At a time when many schools barred their doors to Black Americans, these colleges [HBCUs] offered the best, and often the only, opportunity for a higher education.”
More About Black at Applied
Black at Applied increases Applied employee awareness and understanding of Black culture and provides a forum for members to expand their interpersonal and professional skills. It promotes and enhances employee career potential and retention through mentoring, networking, educational programs, information sharing and member support.
Black at Applied adds specific value to its members by making them more competitive and fosters inclusion for Black employees within the organization. For Applied, this results in increased employee performance, along with recognition of Applied’s role in creating a supportive and diverse working environment.
The Black at Applied leadership team asks you to consider what Black Resistance means to you.
Applied Epic Product Owner and Co-Chair of the Black at Applied Community of Interest
Erika Moore has been with Applied Systems since May 2011. She is an Applied Epic Product Owner and serves as a Co-Chair of the Black at Applied Community of Interest. In October 2021, Erika was selected by her peers as an Applied All-Star, one of the highest levels of recognition in our company. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and playing soccer.