HudsonAlpha Celebrates Black History Month: Recognition & Building A Path Forward

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology joins the nation in celebrating Black History Month (African-American History Month) by raising awareness and observing the achievements of key African Americans in the STEM fields, and by acknowledging the importance of supporting a path forward that ensures equity and inclusion.

In 1915, American historian Carter G. Woodson and others founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. With hope that reason would prevail over racial injustice, one of their first endeavors included launching a Negro History Week in 1925 with its celebration in 1926 during the month of February that encompassed the birthdays of both U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. Black History Month would later gain national recognition in the United States in 1976, and international stature in the United Kingdom in 1987 and in Canada by 1995.

HudsonAlpha recognizes that Black History Month not only serves as an opportunity to highlight noted historical figures, but as a diversity learning tool to inspire and inform individuals from all ethnic and racial backgrounds.  To understand the longstanding legacy of mistrust towards the medical community held by African Americans and other minorities requires entering new spaces to listen and have uncomfortable conversations about a history of medical experimentation on people of color and mistrust held towards health care providers.

This legacy of mistrust speaks to current unease around COVID-19 and the historical pain held towards  the U.S. Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee (1932-1972) and fear of racial inequities in the U.S. healthcare system that led to the hidden story and contribution of Henrietta Lacks in 1951.  Considering the immediate challenges, it is essential that HudsonAlpha works collectively to determine a path forward to foster trust and inclusion.

HudsonAlpha is celebrating Black History Month in February with several learning opportunities that will include honoring and learning about key luminaries in the STEM fields through historical facts, articles, and videos. HudsonAlpha will also recognize Black History Month by hosting several virtual events.  This month, The Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion will present a two-part Virtual Community Awareness Roundtable series entitled, A Path Forward.

The first roundtable event is scheduled for Monday, February 22, 2021 at 6 p.m. and will explore COVID-19 Prevention, Variants, and Community Engagement. Panelists will include: Dr. Tonya Perry (Alabama A&M University), Dr. Neil Lamb (HudsonAlpha), and Ms. Dasi Price (HudsonAlpha). Click here to register.

The second roundtable event is scheduled for Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 6 p.m. and will explore The COVID-19 Vaccine, Mistrust, and Community Mobilization. Panelists will include: Dr. Milton Brown (George Mason University), Dr. Candice Finnila (HudsonAlpha), and Mr. Kenny Anderson (City of Huntsville).

The purpose of this Virtual Community Awareness Roundtable is to provide broad community awareness and education to Alabama’s minority population on the alarming impact of COVID-19, take questions, and to learn of current efforts to combat the spread of this deadly virus.

HudsonAlpha’s recognition of health disparities in minority communities in Huntsville and North Alabama will continue with a two-part roundtable discussion with The Greater Huntsville Chapter of The Links Incorporated in conjunction with our Information is Power initiative on March 9th & 23rd .  The panel will discuss the risk of breast and ovarian cancer and the benefits of genetic testing.

Darrell Ezell, PhD
Director for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion