What Black History Means to our Director of Diversity and Inclusion Ashlee Murph Print PDF
Ashlee Murph is PIB Law's Director of Diversity and Inclusion. In honor of Black History Month, we asked Ashlee to share what Black History Month means to her.
"For me, the importance of black history cannot be reduced to just 28 days in February. However, in my opinion, Black History Month represents thankfulness and hope.
From the inception of America, the contributions of Black Americans helped to create and make the “American Dream” tangible for all. Black Americans, through slavery, built the infrastructure this very country has thrived on and Black civil rights activists blazed the trail for future generations to access this dream when society shut us out. Therefore, this month reminds all of America to reflect on the sacrifices and accomplishments of Black Americans.
As a first generation lawyer in my family, I recognize the contributions of Black American pioneers in my own life. I am a walking example of how access to educational resources and networks can create opportunities for people of color to obtain socioeconomic success – a vision shared by activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer, to name a few. Without their wisdom, perseverance and sacrifice, my life would look very different, and I am forever grateful.
However, Black History Month shouldn’t just be a look into the rear view mirror of the historical trauma of Black Americans and the civil rights movement. Rather, it is an opportunity for forward-thinking development, allyship and growth to ensure that a historically marginalized community is seen, heard, accepted and treated equally.
In today’s society, I am constantly reminded that the journey towards equality for Black Americans is hardly over. We still have a job to do. We, as a society, still have a long road ahead to address the socioeconomic inequities that still plague Black Americans in our society – and the judicial system is no exception. We must put an end to these disparities, to racial profiling and racially charged interactions. Collectively, we must put an end to unnecessary martyrdom. As a mother to three beautiful black children, we must put an end to murders like Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. As a society we cannot fail one another.
So this is why I am thankful for Black History Month and why this month represents hope to me and so many others who look like me. This month presents a window of time and opportunity for open-mindedness, for progress, for change, for dialogue, and for action, to address and eradicate these inequities."