In partnership with our Black Employment Network (BEN), Adobe was thrilled to celebrate Black History Month with more events than ever—with employees being inspired, chowing down and getting their groove on. This year, we had a number of activities planned across multiple sites, all with the goal of spreading awareness of Black History Month, bringing diverse perspectives into the workplace and of course, having some fun!
We strongly believe in inspiring others through the power of storytelling. Which is why this year we had a strong focus on film.
First kicking-off in our offices in Newton and Seattle, both locations hosted a movie night to celebrate the history, achievements, and contributions of African Americans, and screened the award-winning film, Selma. Later in the month, our San Francisco office held their very own African Film Festival. Hosted by Oriki Theater, they presented Africa in Shorts – Through the African Lens, a showcase of select short films from the Silicon Valley African Film Festival that capture the richness and diversity of Africans across cultures, communities and continents.
Wrapping up Black History Month, the San Jose office was delighted to welcome Freedom Rider, Joan Mulholland, and her son, Loki Mulholland to show their award-winning documentary, An Ordinary Hero. The film and Q&A discussion was also broadcasted on Adobe Connect, so that employees from all over the country could watch and engage. The afternoon was an emotional and intimate affair, with employees leaving inspired and empowered by Joan’s story of activism.
Throughout all our sites we held our annual Black History Month recipe contest. This year’s winners were, Nicolle Rodriguez (Production Designer) and Taiwo Stanback (Adobe Digital Academy Immersion Intern). Nicolle’s dish, ham hock & beans, originally came over on a covered wagon from her great grandma Lucille from Missouri. While Taiwo’s dish, Buddy’s lemon meringue pie, was a family favorite and would often be made for celebrations. Both dishes were served in all our sites in the US, where eager employees rushed for a taste.
This year, many employees had the chance to experience African culture.
In our San Jose and San Francisco office, we invited Oriki Theater’s principal dancer and choreographer, Kimberly Scott, to teach attendees the basics and history of African dance. Needless to say, the energetic group danced the hour away. In San Jose, there was also a separate class on Hip-Hop dancing—taught by Yeni Lucero, a highly acclaimed dance and fitness instructor in the Bay Area. One employee summed up the dance class wonderfully, saying “We had a great time learning about the history of hip-hop, getting some exercise and getting our groove on!”
Offices in San Jose, San Francisco and Lehi also hosted Black History month celebrations. Although each location had their own special guests, the energy was the same throughout—with employees dancing, mingling and sampling African inspired dishes.
San Jose had a drum and dance performance by Oriki Theater, followed by a powerful spoken word, while San Francisco hosted Bay Area’s own Broun Fellinis. The band provided a musical performance with lectures that took employees through the history of African American music from Roots in Africa, Spiritual (hymns), Soul, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Funk and Hip-Hop. And the Lehi office celebrated with the return of the Kris Johnson Trio Jazz Band during lunch, with many employees, once again, continuing to listen and work even after lunch.
Our goal is to always create a workplace that works for everyone. And although Black History month has ended, you can bet that there are already other events planned beyond the month of celebration that embody the spirit of diversity and inclusion.
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Photo by Adam Freidin & Likwai Lawrence Lai.