February is Black History Month. In honor of this important month, we are proud to welcome Trenda Byrd-Davidson to the blog. A graduate of Appalachian State University and Morgan State University, Trenda is the founder and CEO of ByrdOwl Consulting – a firm that helps school districts, school administrators, teachers and museums understand the importance of
African-American history and how to effectively teach the subject.
She is also assistant director of the College Park Aviation Museum, a certified interpretive guide through the National Association for Interpretation and host of the Byrd’s Eye View podcast, which explores what is happening today in Black America through raw and authentic conversations.
Below, Trenda shares her thoughts on why celebrating Black History Month is important and what you can do to keep Black excellence at the forefront of your colleagues’ minds.
SK Leading Forward: Why is it important to acknowledge and celebrate Black History Month every February?
Trenda: February is a great start in acknowledging and celebrating Black history because people know it is coming, and it is at the forefront of their minds. It is a way to make sure were pay homage and recognize those who came before us. During this month we not only celebrate Black history but Black excellence as well. However, I believe we should acknowledge and celebrate Black history every day because you can find it in all forms of history.
SK Leading Forward: What are some of the interesting or unique ways you have seen communities and workplaces celebrate Black History Month?
Trenda: Probably one of my favorite ways I have seen communities celebrate Black history are children dressing as prominent Black Americans, people who they look up to, and telling their stories. This is significant because more and more Black children and children of color are seeing themselves represented in mainstream media when that was not always the case. So, they feel empowered and confident in their dreams.
SK Leading Forward: What else can companies and leaders do to celebrate the month?
Trenda: Many times, companies think they have to come up with a program or a lecture themselves in order to celebrate Black History Month, and that is not the case. Or, they do not know where to begin. That’s where ByrdOwl Consulting comes in. Part of what I do is do lectures and programs for companies on various topics of Black history. Having me come in and do a program for you is a great way to acknowledge and recognize Black History Month.
SK Leading Forward: Which Black innovators or leaders from history inspire you and why?
Trenda: Madam C.J. Walker, who became the first self-made millionaire and revolutionized black hair care. She inspires me because she wanted to make a difference in her community by providing hair products made for black women so we could take care of our hair properly and have pride in our hair. She also inspires me because she built her company from the bottom up and showed that through hard work, anything is possible.