Making History Today: Celebrating Black History Month

by James Moore, Loan Servicing Spec III, Single-Family Credit Operations

James MooreAs a member, and the treasurer, of the African Ancestry Business Leaders for Excellence (ABLE) Employee Resource Group (ERG), I always look forward to Black History Month at Fannie Mae. Every year it sparks a renewed interest to hear from our community and its leaders, serve our community, elevate our members, and celebrate our rich heritage. Our theme for 2018's activities was "Making History Today." We wanted to acknowledge that, while reaching back into the rich history that black Americans have contributed to society is not to be forgotten, we need to celebrate the successes of modern-day black Americans. Legacies are created every single day by "famous" black Americans, as well as by lesser known individuals, through grass-root efforts that don't always get the recognition they deserve. This February, I am proud that we celebrated our rich culture in a variety of ways. We sponsored a networking social, facilitated a black history trivia event, hosted two community leader speakers, posted internal blogs spotlighting how ABLE members have influenced future community leaders, and conducted a virtual discussion on how Fannie Mae is making history through its affordable housing initiatives.

The ABLE ERG facilitates a black history month trivia event every February. But this year, instead of questions focusing on historic heroes, we featured recent history makers and current world influencers, such as Misty Copeland, Colin Kaepernick, and Ms. T.G.I.T, Shonda Rhimes. As part of our "Conversations with Community Leaders" series, we had a thoughtful discussion with keynote speaker Dr. Johnnetta Cole. Dr. Cole led a discussion with topics on the evolution of diversity and inclusion within education and on corporate boards, social justice movements of today, and what we can do today to have a positive effect on tomorrow's history. Dr. Cole was the first African-American, female president of Spelman College. She also is a recently retired director of the National Museum of African Art, a recipient of the Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award, and a recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees.

Dr. Johnnetta Cole delivers keynote address


Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole engaging in conversation about diversity and inclusion with ABLE ERG members.

We also enjoyed an entertaining and inspiring conversation with community leader and keynote speaker Gary Randle. Mr. Randle shared his testimony about his journey from reluctantly participating in a prison ministry to finding the inspiration to co-found H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Excel) Farm in Fort Worth, Texas. H.O.P.E Farm is an after-school program that assists and encourages boys from households with single mothers or grandparents. Fannie Mae has a rich culture of employee volunteerism, and H.O.P.E Farm is also one of our external partners.

ABLE's mission is to harness our members' inner brilliance and propel them to their greatest potential. We work to achieve our mission through education, mentoring, community outreach, and celebration. February is an important month for us in realizing our mission.

Want to join a company that is dedicated to impacting diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Check out our open positions! Then, follow @FannieMaeJobs on Twitter to learn more about working at the #HeartofHousing!