Black History Month Celebration

Black History Month Celebration Honors the Past, Inspires the Future
Posted on 02/07/2020
Dicky Sykes, the Director of Diversity In Business Practices

‘Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future’ was the theme the Office of Diversity in Business Practices chose to celebrate Black History Month, in an event organized together with the Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County. Black History Month recognizes the achievements and contributions of generations of Black Americans in the United States. 

In the spirit of this celebration, the Office of Diversity in Business Practices and the Chamber came together to inspire future entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Black community, in this gathering of more than 160 small business owners, diversity advocates, and community leaders. Students in the Global Business and Entrepreneurship Choice Program at Palm Beach Gardens Community High School also participated. 

“We need to change our thought process. We need to be successful together,” said District 7 School Board Member Dr. Debra Robinson in her welcoming address.

The audience heard from several great diversity advocates on many subjects pertaining to successful business experience and taking advantage of opportunities.

‘Black Business Empowerment Equals Black Prosperity’ was the message of Michael J. Garner, the Chief Diversity Officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York City. He pointed out that government contracts create wealth in the community. 

Valerie Rainford, the CEO and Founder of Elloree Talent Strategies, talked about the skills, talents, and attributes needed for the next generation of Black leaders, but stressed that decision-makers could not be colorblind and what really matters is access to opportunities.

Keynote speaker Joshua Esnard, inventor of The Cut Buddy, spoke about ways to achieve financial freedom from solving problems you once complained about. Esnard was a winner on the popular television show Shark Tank.

"I am here to network with other vendors and entrepreneurs. I have done a lot of work for the School District of Palm Beach County for more than 10 years. As a Black business owner, I think the whole community should take advantage of business opportunities with such big government agencies,” said Anthony Brown from Brown & Phillips Land Surveying in West Palm Beach.

During the celebration, several business owners received awards for their collaboration with the School District.

"I hope people will walk away with a different view of where we need to go regarding racial equity and continue to be inspired by the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.," said Dicky Sykes, the Director of the Office of Diversity in Business Practices. "We want to have more racial economic equity and help more small minorities and women-owned businesses achieve the American dream. We must be color brave, not colorblind."

The School District of Palm Beach County