Celebrating Black History Month

Liz Jagun
|October 31, 2023

I joined Prolific in April 2022. Back then, I was one of four employees from a black African/Caribbean background.

This presented unique challenges and experiences. I saw and felt the importance of fostering an inclusive and supportive workplace.

Diversity matters to me. So, I was very keen to get involved in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy Prolific was working on.

I wanted to help push this forward and make it happen.

In our commitment to champion diversity, I’ve worked closely with my fellow People & Talent team. We’ve led various initiatives, like establishing staff networks and ERG groups.

These groups give us a safe space for candid conversations. They let us tackle issues around discrimination and bias. And we use them to discuss cultural celebrations and how we can commemorate them at Prolific.

This brings me to Black History Month 🎉

What is Black History Month?

Black History Month in the UK takes place across October. There are events up and down the country, from exhibitions, poetry, and talks to comedy shows and cuisine.

This has always been a very important time of the year for me and my friends and family. It shouldn't just be for one month of the year - but it does let us honour and recognise major contributions and achievements from Black individuals throughout history.

Black History Month isn't just a time to reflect on the Black community’s struggles. It's also a time to recognise its resilience and triumphs.

I wanted us to use this month to amplify Black voices, support Black businesses, and have meaningful conversations about the ongoing fight for racial equality.

The theme this year is celebrating our sisters. So, I invited two inspiring Black women to Prolific to discuss and celebrate their amazing achievements.

Talking with Tanya Powell from Coding Black Females

Black history boasts a rich tradition of scientific achievement.

Take George Washington Carver, who made ground-breaking contributions to agricultural science. Or Mae Jemison, the first Black woman in space.

These individuals shattered barriers and advanced human knowledge. Their pioneering spirit reminds us that we need diversity in the scientific community to progress and innovate.

We’ve partnered with Coding Black Females (CBF), a non-profit organisation. Their goal is to grow a community of black women in software development and tech roles, from entry to executive level.

They're helping black females break down barriers to entering the industry. They also give them opportunities to develop themselves. Through regular meet-ups, they see familiar faces, network, get support, and build relationships.

We invited Tanya Powell, co-CTO at CBF, for a fireside chat to discuss her journey and motivations as a black woman in the tech industry.

What inspired me most was Tanya’s passion and dedication to her organisation. Quitting her 9-5 job to focus on CBF’s mission was a giant leap, but one which has proven to be very rewarding.

Tanya's session was very empowering. She touched on the challenges and obstacles she's had to overcome, especially racial inequities. She highlighted initiatives to promote inclusivity in our community and linked the team to workshops, events and more.

Sprinting through stress with Veronica

Black athletes have made major contributions to sports throughout history.

From trailblazers like Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson to modern-day stars like Serena Williams and LeBron James, black athletes have achieved remarkable success.

Their achievements have changed the world of sports and played a crucial role in advocating for equality and social justice.

Growing up, I was quite the athlete myself. I was particularly good at the 200m sprint. Being on the track allowed me to challenge myself physically and mentally. I felt a sense of freedom and empowerment, allowing me to push my limits and achieve goals I never thought possible.

As part of Black History Month, I organised a session with eight-time Olympic medallist Veronica Campbell Brown. Veronica shared personal stories of overcoming challenging situations on her journey to a successful athletics career.

Veronica also shared some mental strength techniques to help us conquer stress and triumph. It was such an important message and a very empowering session.

Key takeaways from Black History Month

Black excellence is woven into the fabric of our society. It shapes our culture, science, politics, and more.

As we reflect on the achievements and contributions of Black individuals and communities, let's also commit to fostering a more inclusive and fairer world. A world where everyone has the opportunity to excel.

Together, we can build a future where we all get the dignity, respect, and fairness we deserve.

At Prolific, we celebrate our differences. We care deeply about diversity within our team and on our platform. If you’d like to join our transparent and inclusive culture, head on over to our careers page and check out our open roles.