Get To Know Kendra Brim
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is an opportunity to highlight the many accomplishments and contributions of Black people. Black History is American History that should be celebrated and intertwined within the fabric of our country.
What moments in Black history are meaningful to you?
Seeing Vice President Kamala Harris become our first Female, Black, South Asian Vice President in America and President Barack Obama becoming our first Black President is one of the most meaningful achievements in modern years for me. I am also shaped by the accomplishments of several pioneers - Maya Angelou, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Shirley Chisholm.
Can you talk about one or two of the many contributions that Black individuals have made in our community?
Western New York is filled with many individuals who have made great impact on our community. It’s hard to pick one or two. However, there are two women who have had great impact in my personal life – Eva Doyle and Brenda McDuffie. Eva Doyle is a retired Buffalo Public School Teacher, an author, and community historian. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with her on many occasions. She is committed to telling and celebrating Black History. Brenda McDuffie, retired Buffalo Urban League CEO, is a close mentor. Her passion and commitment to our community is demonstrated every day. She fights for social justice, economic empowerment and reliance, and is committed to building a better Buffalo.
How do you think having Black leaders and staff members impact an organization’s success?
Having black leaders and staff members will contribute to the overall success of an organization. The benefits include a variety of different perspectives, increased creativity, innovation, faster problem solving, increased profits, and ultimately higher employee engagement. In order to gain a diverse employee base, organizations must leverage diverse job boards, offer targeted internships and scholarships, highlight diversity on career site (if any) and offer unconscious bias training for recruiters. It’s time for organizations to transform their hiring process from reactive to proactive, and support their black employees through mentorships, reevaluating policies, promotion process, and commit to an inclusive company culture.
What work needs to be done to make Buffalo & Erie County a more equitable and inclusive place for Black individuals?
Witnessing the death of George Floyd in 2020, many companies and organizations wanted to make a difference, although the oppression of marginalized groups has been happening long before that particular incident. Now is the time to see these measurable outcomes that companies spoke about in the summer of 2020. Organizations cannot simply deliver lip service. It is time for them to roll up their sleeves and get uncomfortable. The challenge for organizations is not figuring out what can they do, but rather are they willing to do it? An equitable and inclusive organization starts with strategy. Strategy goes beyond hiring a diversified workforce and a one-time DEI event. It takes a commitment!