February is Black History Month across North America. But as a global business with more than 140,000 Associates, the world we want tomorrow is more inclusive everywhere.
For more than 50 years, organizers of Black History Month have embraced themes to raise awareness around subjects of concern in the Black community. This year's observance takes a closer look at Black health and wellness.
Perhaps the most topical issue is COVID-19, which has seriously impacted minority communities. According to data from the CDC, COVID-19 hospitalization rates among Black people were both about 4.7 times the rate of white people. And while those statistics attempt to convey the physical impact, they don’t begin to portray the significant mental health burden on minority communities.
We talked to several of our Associates about how they lean on us and their fellow Associates. Here’s what they had to say:
In line with this year’s theme, the Mars African American Council (MAAC) invited NFL Superbowl champ-turned-business-entrepreneur Tim Wright to a digital fireside chat to talk about mental health, success and the importance of healthy relationships. Check out what he had to say on the importance of a strong support system:
At Mars, we’re taking the time to reflect on the significance of Black History Month, honor those who’ve pushed us forward and continue to act together to create the world we want to see tomorrow.
We also want to give our Black Associates room to express themselves, raise awareness, take the floor when they want it and find community within Mars. Here are a few of the ways in which spotlighted Black History Month:
- Royal Canin, Mars Food and the Black Advisory Council organized “What’s Cooking” with Cheron Burns and Kyla Washington, a cooking demo using Ben’s Original Rice. Kyla Washington gave an intro and shared key highlights of what Ben’s Original has been doing with the Seat at the Table Fund and our work in Greenville in partnership with Molina Healthcare and Kroger Delta Division.
- MAAC put on an exclusive Ethel M. Chocolate tasting experience where Associates got to try chocolates at home. Travis Lester, Senior Manager of Inclusion and Diversity North America, said the event was a great learning opportunity, but more importantly, it was fun.
- The Mars Petcare UNIFY group hosted Dr. Bryant T. Marks, founding Director of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity to present “Hidden Bias of Good People.” The virtual event, attended by more than 200, was a deep-dive training session to help Associates recognize and reduce our unconscious, implicit bias at the personal and even organizational level.
- MAAC’s closing event exemplified the health and wellness theme. Gail Peterson, the SVP & CMO of Ecolab produced “The Power of Being Authentic,” exploring the balance of work, life, being your authentic self and living your true purpose.
We’re committed to fostering an environment where our Associates feel valued and respected, regardless of any visible or invisible differences. Where they’re comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work, where they enjoy equal opportunities to be heard, where they feel supported to reach their full potential. So as Black History Month comes to a close, we're reminded of the long road ahead and our recommitment to our Inclusions & Diversity goals.