Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their role in U.S. history. As a part of our mission statement, “Our Foundation”, we strive to foster a culture that recognizes and celebrates the value of everyone’s contributions. This month, we partnered with our newest Team Member Resource Group, BRIDGE (Black Resources Inspiring Diversity, Growth & Excellence), to spotlight a few of the many influential African American team members within our organization. Join us each week in February to learn about the inspiring stories and achievements of these dynamic members of our team!
This week, we learn about April Cates, People and Culture Program Specialist.
Growing up, April was taught the importance of family and how it contributes to survival, health, and overall endurance. This was on full display during the Wright Family Reunions. From the food, the music, the artwork, the dancing and the faith, she was able to experience it and learn from all.
It was through these experiences that April has been able to thrive and accomplish many things in her life. One of which is her daughter Alani, who is April’s greatest accomplishment, her greatest pride and her greatest joy. Alani has taught April the importance of leading by example and through her actions Alani has matured into an amazing young woman who is excelling at KSU (Go Owls!).
Today April holds the role of EM’s People and Culture Program Specialist and has accomplished many career milestones over the years. But if given the opportunity, the advice she would give her younger self would be “Don’t be afraid to use your voice, as your opinion is just as important as anybody else’s. Have courage, be confident and always be true to yourself.’’
As she embraces her own advice, April is also embracing the ability to express herself through her hairstyle. The expression of beauty through hairstyles has been a long-standing signature of black culture. Black women use their hairstyles as a personal expression of who they are and the evolution of black culture over time. This is an evolution that has brought April to a point of embracing her own natural hair with confidence.
In April’s free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends but when she gets time to herself she is no stranger to flipping her television to “In the Heat of The Night.” April stated that she has seen “each” episode more than 25 times! If there’s ever a trivia question around this show we know who to call!
For April, Black History Month is an opportunity for all to learn more about the effects of racism and how to challenge negative stereotypes. It is also a celebration and acknowledgment of the great achievements of black people in history. One leader who accomplishments have made an impact on April is Maya Angelou. In fact, one of her guiding principles comes from the late Maya Angelou when she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”