A Look Back at February: Penske Associates Share What Black History Month Means to Them
During Black History Month in February, we asked associates to reflect on what the month meant to them. Here are their stories.
“Black History Month is important to me because it celebrates and recognizes the huge contributions that Black women and men have made and how we continue to shape society today,” Nita Rodney, Branch Rental Manager, GA – Penske Truck Leasing.
Nita Rodney, Branch Rental Manager
“Black History Month is a month where we are able to celebrate our achievements – not only for us but for other people to learn where we came from and our history,” Sherina Fillus, Assistant Rental Manager, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
“Black History Month is important to me because it helps me think about our previous leaders. That inspires me to strive forward and to set an example for new and future leaders,” Jonathan Jubilee, Branch Manager, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
“Black History Month means honoring the challenges so many African Americans faced, educating society on the challenges they still face and celebrating the challenges they’ve overcome. It also encourages me to reflect on my life and the opportunities that I have earned as the result of so many leaders before me fighting for what is right for all people,” Carlos Love, Assistant District Manager, MI – Penske Truck Leasing.
“Black History Month is important because it gives us a chance to reflect on our past accomplishments and also it gives us inspiration to move our communities forward,” Jermaine Johnson, Lease Sales Representative, TN – Penske Truck Leasing.
“Black History Month is American history! It is important to learn, appreciate, and acknowledge our contributions to science, textiles, Civil Rights, politics, medicine and so much more! Knowing what we were capable of in our past empowers us to know how we can shape the future of humanity,” Kim Hamilton Lee, District Rental Manager, VA – Penske Truck Leasing.
Kim Hamilton Lee, District Rental Manager
“Black History Month is a reflection of the strength of our people. We’ve been through a million things and we happened to prevail,” Annabelle Weir, Maintenance Coordinator, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
“Black History Month is about recognizing our history: the pain, the barriers, but also the accomplishments. It’s a chance to look back and see how far we’ve come. Black History Month is about more than a history of pain, slavery and limitations. It’s also about highlighting the Black trailblazers, inventors and entrepreneurs. As we evolve and heal, it is also important, especially for our youth, to celebrate Black achievements and Black excellence. It’s crucial for them to see Black role models that are successful in roles that they generally don’t see in mainstream media like finance, real estate, entrepreneurship, trades and more,” Gilles Makanda, Recruiter, ON – Penske Truck Leasing.
Gilles Makanda, Recruiter
“Black History Month is so important to me because it’s an opportunity to celebrate people who helped shape society – especially Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month,” Motaz Gerais, Area Rental Manager, GA – Penske Truck Leasing.
Motaz Gerais, Area Rental Manager
“Black History Month is important to me because it’s about unity: the coming together of our groups of people to enjoy each other, appreciate our history and respect ourselves,” James “JR” Houston, Management Trainee, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
“Black History Month is very important to me because it pays tribute to the unimaginable sacrifices my ancestors took so people like myself will be treated equally with honor and respect,” Justin N. North, Manager – Consumer Operations, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
Justin N. North, Manager – Consumer Operations
“Black History Month is specifically important to me because we’re able to learn so much in-depth information about our backgrounds and our culture. We’re also able to celebrate the contributions of Black history to American history,” Heidi Henville, Manager – Consumer Operations, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
Heidi Henville, Manager – Consumer Operations
“Black history is important to me because it is the cornerstone of society: it is at the edge of making history and being history,” Reshard Young, Diesel Tech III, FL – Penske Truck Leasing.
“In order for me to be where I’m at today in my career in and in my life, a lot of people had to make sacrifices. It is important to me to set a month aside to champion some of these people and their achievements as well as to show my gratitude and respect,” Brandon Rose, Assistant District Rental Manager, GA – Penske Truck Leasing.
“I am mixed, but I have always had to embrace my Black side a little tighter despite being 65% Irish. Being mixed, I felt like I had to try a little harder, run a little faster, focus more consistently and be a little bolder. To celebrate my Blackness, my fierceness and my resilience, I always watch The Color Purple with my mom and The Frog Princess with my daughter. I read My Friend Martin with my kids and show them pictures from when we used to go on equality marches. My stepfather was a (white) activist; he tells the stories of standing up for justice. We celebrate our culture year-round. We eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Eve (for luck) and enjoy community bonding on Sundays. Even though February is Black History Month, I live it and celebrate it daily,” Erica Starks, Management Trainee, IL – Penske Truck Leasing.
Erica Starks, Management Trainee