#LifeAtHireRight: Acknowledging Juneteenth in Our BLM Affinity Group
With Juneteenth just ahead of us, our #LM affinity group leaders explore the significance of the holiday, and why DEI and inclusion activities are important for organizations.
Here at HireRight, our teams work hard to build the future of screening services while striving to put the customer first. Internally, we rally around a culture committed to collaboration, a service-first mindset, a sense of ownership, and other corporate values to help employers get it right – every time, everywhere. But what is it like to work here? And who are the employees behind our background screening and workforce solutions?
Two years ago, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, our employees started the BLM Employee Affinity Group. This was a virtual space where HireRight team members could meet in a safe space to express their thoughts, grief, and anger. Since then, our BLM group has flourished, growing in numbers, and providing virtual activities and events where members could come together to continue to learn and grow with each other. In 2021 we spoke to Zeena Wright, Director of Data Governance and Technology, and the President of the BLM group about how the group started, and it’s future. Earlier this year, we heard from Kim Coy, Account Analyst, and VP of the BLM group. She shared with us the impact of Black History Month, and updates about the group. This month, ahead of Juneteenth, we spoke with both Zeena and Kim about Juneteenth, its significance, and how the group’s activities align with other Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts here at HireRight.
How do you think the BLM employee affinity group has brought awareness to HireRight about Black Lives Matter issues?
Kim: I know before this affinity group was created, there wasn’t a place for black people and our allies within HireRight to come together and talk about the things that are going on around the world that affect us negatively. It doesn’t surprise me, as so much of our history was not taught in schools or in our homes. I think we’ve done an incredible job bringing employees from all over the globe together with the common goal of learning together, venting together, and trying to make a difference here at HireRight together.
Zeena: The BLM group was created shortly after the death of George Floyd and the events surrounding that. I am proud of how far we have come because I think up until that point many of us didn’t realize how impacted we all were. Not just by the recent events, but the history and culture of black America. Through these events, and the employee-led group that we created, we have been able to demonstrate that we are in this together. There is still a lot of unhealed trauma that has been passed through generations that we are working through, and will continue to work through. This is a space that is not only helpful for us, but also for our allies and anyone that would like to join us.
What do you want HireRight team members to know about Juneteenth and why it is important?
Kim: It’s important because a lot of us weren’t taught this in schools. I want them to know that Juneteenth was a real event and a part of this country’s history that many have never heard of. I want them to know that the Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t the real end of slavery. For example, enslaved people west of the Mississippi in Galveston, Texas, had to wait over 2 years before hearing from military officers that they were FINALLY free. I want people to know that Juneteenth is not just a day to have a barbeque and eat, but that it is a celebration of freedom. I want people to learn about Black history in this country, which is American history.
Zeena: Juneteenth is a recognition of African Americans’ contributions to this country. It’s a time to reflect, be grateful, and celebrate the community’s accomplishments. It’s really an invitation for everyone, to learn again about one another as well as educate themselves. I think everything goes back to seeing, acknowledging, and supporting one another, and celebrating what makes us all unique. And that’s what will always be a common theme with what we do.
How do you see the BLM Affinity Group’s Juneteenth activities as aligning with our broader DEI efforts? And why do you think diversity, equity, and inclusion activities like this are important?
Kim: DEI is so important for companies to have. Research shows that it helps with company retention, and productivity. We also know that if people can come to work and feel acknowledged, valued, and know that their ideas matter, this can help showcase our company culture and bring in new business.
I think having a workplace that is diverse and inclusive makes everyone feel more comfortable, makes them feel valued. All our BLM community events, our Coffee Breaks, and our posts and conversations in our Microsoft Teams group are for us to continue to grow our group for everyone at HireRight.
Zeena: In my experience, I have seen successful outcomes from DEI efforts at organizations, including HireRight. I have seen increased job satisfaction, higher productivity, and reports of a better culture from employees. The activities we have planned for Juneteenth, or any activities in our group, have the intention of ensuring that everyone is seen, heard, and supported. This is important because there are lots of employees who feel that they have not had the opportunity to express their opinions or pursue something that they are truly passionate about. Overall, this has gotten better, but there is still a huge opportunity for employers (not just HireRight) across the country to ensure that we are providing equitable opportunities for everyone. It’s imperative to provide these opportunities to those who are putting in the effort and making sure everyone is set up for success.
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Release Date: June 16, 2022
HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.