COLORADO SPRINGS — With the end of February comes the end of Black History Month, but the meaning of the month stretches far beyond a calendar. News5 met with two different organizations, dedicated to diversity in Colorado Springs.
One of them is My Black Colorado, a magazine that features black professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, and civic and social organizations across Colorado. "February, Black History Month, is important, because it's a time to remember and celebrate all the amazing people that came before us, but it's also a time to create new history right now," said the Editor-In-Chief of the magazine, Brandon Bornes.
Bornes said the magazine gives children the chance to see people that look like them succeeding in a number of career paths. It also highlights businesses that put an emphasis on diversity in the workplace. "Importance of a diversity of perspective, having people in your workplace, your environment, that might have a little bit different perspective than you, to help bring an overall value to your organization," said Bornes.
News5 also spoke with the Vice Chair of the Pikes Peak Diversity Council, Shirley Martinez, who brought us back in time. "Fannie Mae Duncan, of course, was an African American woman in the 50's and 60's that opened up a Cotton Club. She was an African American entrepreneur, and she was told not to let whites into her club... She says 'no that's not right' and that it needs to be everybody welcomed, and so through the years she worked on changing people's minds," said Martinez, while standing near the statue of Duncan in downtown Colorado Springs.
Martinez said Duncan's message, "Everybody Welcome," has lived on here in Colorado Springs. "People need to open up their eyes, because we're being enriched by the growth, and we need more people to come out and see it and work with us and help us be the Olympic City, but also be 'Everybody Welcome,'"said Martinez.
Bornes said everybody being welcome is key in keeping the meaning of Black History Month going all year long. "When one succeeds, we all succeed, so it's about building that community and getting excited about what each and everyone is doing in the community. So that's what we're really trying to get to. We shine brighter together," said Bornes.
My Black Colorado has three more editions of their magazine coming out in 2020, focused on history, education, and business or health professionals. Those will be released every quarter. To order them, visit their website.
Meanwhile, Martinez said the Gold Room will host a Cotton Club event near the end of March. She also said by following groups on Facebook like theirs, or the Colorado Springs Black Chamber of Commerce, can keep you updated on events being planned in Colorado Springs.