This year’s Black History Month feels more important than ever after a volatile year of racial injustice protests and intense political climates. In addition, Black-owned businesses were particularly hard hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Black History Month is a necessary reminder to always lift up, empower and celebrate the Black people in our lives, every day. Many corporations and brands have been motivated to take a more proactive role in diversity and inclusion initiatives, including showing a commitment to civil rights.
There are many companies in the travel and hospitality industry that are worth recognizing for the projects and campaigns they have launched in honor of Black History Month. Here are just a few:
- Delta Air Lines is honoring Black History Month with the debut of new, curated content to its in-flight entertainment lineup, with an emphasis on Black films. The media includes documentaries and films from Black filmmakers that provide passengers with a deeper understanding of the Black experience.
- United Airlines, Chase and Visa are teaming up by encouraging and rewarding United Credit Card members who make donations to nonprofits focused on providing access to educational opportunities for Black students. Card members will receive five total miles for every dollar (up to $1,000) in donations made to certain civil rights organizations throughout the month of February.
- American Airlines is giving customers who fly a special offer the opportunity to kick-start their reading journey with Oprah’s Book Club on Apple Books. In honor of Black History Month, “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates is the first free e-book offered through the program.
- Walt Disney World is introducing “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure,” a new Epcot exhibit celebrating the distinctly American musical art form originated by African Americans.
- Lyft has launched a Black Driver Community Circle comprised of several Black drivers from across the country, creating an opportunity for them to share their experiences and offer insights into how the company can continue to address racial discrimination.
- Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, an airport named after the late civil rights activist Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, is recognizing the legacy and contributions of African American aviators and pioneers throughout history. The celebration will include exhibits and live musical performances each Friday.
We also wanted to feature some of the powerful and inspiring Black women in the travel and hospitality community. These women sit on our Women Leading Travel & Hospitality advisory board and/or were featured in our 2021 Top Women in Travel & Hospitality report:
- Charisse Evans is vice president, employee relations, Delta Air Lines, and a Women Leading Travel & Hospitality board member. She is also a board member of Dress for Success Atlanta. At Delta, Charisse is responsible for leading a multifunctional strategy for over 70,000 employees, with the focus of modernizing processes for employees.
- Joy-Lynn Tyler is vice president, Total Rewards, HIPAA Privacy Officer, Extended Stay America, and a Women Leading Travel & Hospitality board member. Joy-Lynn actively mentors young women across the country, and has been a speaker for DMEC and ADP Meeting of the Minds. At Extended Stay, she’s responsible for strategic planning and delivery for all lines of benefits administration, compensation, and human capital systems.
- Stephanie Chung is chief growth officer, Wheels Up, and a 2021 Top Women in Travel & Hospitality honoree. Stephanie developed a love for travel while growing up as a military brat and moving every couple of years. At Wheels Up, Stephanie is focused on forging new value-driven relationships and driving the development of new revenue streams to support the brand’s vision.
- Keyra Lynn Johnson is chief global diversity and inclusion officer, Delta Air Lines, and a 2021 Top Women in Travel & Hospitality honoree. Keyra’s goal is to model an inclusive and adaptive leadership style for her team. At Delta, she’s charged with leading the company in modeling a D&I strategy that will have a significant impact on the airline’s customers.
P.S. Do you know a powerful Black woman in travel and hospitality with an inspiring story to tell? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.