Collage of Levi's employees. Collage of Levi's employees.

2020 Black History Month Three-Part Series

Levi’s® Employees Respond: Is Black History Month Still Relevant?

February 15, 2020

Black History Month — first celebrated in 1970 and official since 1976 — was conceived as an opportunity to honor the much-neglected accomplishments of Black Americans. In this second installment of our three-part series, ten Black Levi Strauss & Co. employees from a range of departments talk with colleague Charis Marquez about its relevance given the fluidity of the current identity climate.

Portrait of Levi's employee.

“It’s a pause in which to think about the contributions of Black Americans.”

Alanna Shipley (Director, Levi’s® Shopper Insights & Dockers®)

“I think Black History Month is still relevant. It’s a moment when we can take the time to celebrate being Black and being American. While on one end it feels like maybe things are dictated to us in terms of celebrating on this day or this month — and that can kind of feel inauthentic — on the other end, without something that is formally and publicly acknowledging the efforts that we have made, lots of people may not be exposed to it. It gives the country a pause in which to think about the contributions of Black Americans.”

Portrait of Levi's employee.

“If you know your past, you understand the present — and gain insight into the future.”

Herbert Williamson (FLX Designer, Levi’s® Innovation Team)

“I think Black History Month is even more relevant now because we have the outlet of social media. Things are more transparent, and socially and politically, we’re striving towards more progression. The past affects the present along with the future. As an individual, if you know your past, you understand your position in the present — and this gives you insight into what’s in the future.”

Portrait of Levi's employee.

“Black history is a part of American history.”

Whitney Bragg (Visual Merchandising Manager, Levi’s® Wholesale Environment)

“I think Black History Month is still relevant because Black history is a part of American history. It helps to provide context for current societal and political concerns. 

Knowing my history has helped me develop a sense of pride and understanding of who I am as a Black female, so that I’m aware of obstacles that I have to face. And then I can create strategies to overcome some of those obstacles.”

Interviews conducted by Charis Marquez, Levi’s® Head of Wholesale, Digital, and one of the executive sponsors for Project Onyx Employee Resource Groups. 

The sayings on the custom tees featured in this shoot were chosen by each individual. Look to see if your local Levi’s® store offers this service, or use our online service to create your own message tee for Black History Month.

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