Black History Month: Through the Lens of our DE&I Council


Feb 13, 2023

During National Black History Month, we celebrate the legacy of Black Americans whose power to lead, to overcome and to expand the meaning and practice of American democracy has helped our Nation become a more fair and just society.

The Brooks Rehabilitation Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) council includes colleagues from across the system whose mission is to enhance the culture of diversity, equity and inclusion of our organization. We asked Brooks employees to answer the question, “What does Black History Month mean to me?”


“To me, Black History Month means an opportunity to learn about a culture and community that I was not taught enough about in school. A community, that despite blatant hatred and discrimination, still built a movement that refused to stop fighting for the rights of all minorities. A movement that ignited other movements towards equity and equality in our country. It is also a chance to remind myself that fight is ongoing. Whether it be based on race or gender or sexual orientation, the need to fight discrimination is still very present. We can only hope to move forward if we acknowledge our past and embrace other cultures. It is the celebration of hope for a better future.”

– Stephanie Berkey, Central Intake Coordinator


“Black History Month to me means a time to reflect on those who were not allowed to stay with their families, those that were not allowed to eat at certain restaurants or go to certain schools and those who whose lives were threatened just by walking by the wrong person.

It’s a time that I am reminded about amazing contributions made to our world by Black scientists, inventors, musicians, activists and educators. It is a time to look at how far we have come as Black Americans and how much further we need to go to stop more injustices today.

Black History Month started out as a day. It then turned into a week and is now a Month. This in itself holds significance. An idea can turn into something that seems to just always exist.”

– Jasmine Swinton, Human Resources Recruiter


“This means that we take time to acknowledge that we stand in the shadow of giants. From Bessie Coleman to Martin Luther King Jr. from Mary McLeod Bethune to Henrietta Lacks. To be honest there are far too many giants to name. However, labeling what these giants have brought to us as “contributions” falls well short of being the right word. These individuals have shaped the very soul of our nation. We thank and honor them. May we live into their legacy.”

– Rev. Joseph Medearis, M. Div., Brooks Chaplain


“Black History Month is an opportunity to express gratitude and respect for the many monumental contributions to our society that were made by Black individuals which progressed our nation as a whole. We can accomplish this through uplifting words, actions, and attitudes towards the Black members of our communities, as well as including Black stories in our own perception of the construction of America.”

– Kaylin Hentschel, Speech Language Pathologist

Brooks Rehabilitation is committed to enhancing the culture of diversity, equity and inclusion across our system of care by recognizing, celebrating and honoring differences within ourselves, our patients and peers to make a positive impact.

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