Black History Month is a time to reflect, celebrate, and honor African American culture, histories, and achievements. As we collectively navigate our present day, it is important that we acknowledge and honor our past, while stepping powerfully into the possibilities of our future. As “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (The Black National Anthem) goes:

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun


Black History Month originated as the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926.1 Originally a week-long celebration, it was expanded to a month on the occasion of the Bicentennial in 1976. Marking the occasion, President Gerald Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.2

Yet nearly half a century after Ford’s proclamation, there is still so much to do in recognizing the contribution of Black Americans to our culture. And businesses are well-placed to help ensure that happens. In fact, a major survey of attitudes to different institutions found that business is now more trusted than the media, government and even non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and is the only one of the four seen as ethical and competent.3

How New York Life celebrates Black History Month

At New York Life, diversity, equity & inclusion is embedded in programs across the company, and each year we engage employees in celebrating diverse groups’ history and heritages months, beginning with Black History Month. For 2022, the BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership and Development) Employee Resource Group is hosting several events, including one to highlight key initiatives taking place in New York Life’s DE&I Center and Agency department by  Cathy Council ,Head of the DE&I Center, and Eric Jackson, VP of DE&I for Agency, respectively. BOLD will also lead a discussion on wealth building around concepts to grow net worth while protecting it from threats and erosion, and they will host a conversation with Renee Montgomery, who will share her personal story as a co-owner and VP of the Atlanta Dream, former WNBA star, philanthropist, and activist.

The support for diverse communities extends beyond New York Life and into the community—we believe financial security and inclusion is vital to creating better opportunities. To that end we have more than 1,200 agents serving the African American community whose mission is not just to sell life insurance, but to help families understand the importance of building a legacy for the next generation. We also back our beliefs through actions: in the last 20 years we’ve donated more than $25 million to organizations which support the African American community. Most recently we made a $1 million one-off grant to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. And we’ve pledged to match employee contributions up to $5,000 to a range of organizations involved in racial justice and advancement.

We’re proud that New York Life’s diversity and inclusion efforts are recognized externally. Last year we featured among Forbes Magazine’s Best Employers for Diversity.  Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index, which surveys 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees and pinpoint the companies they identified as being most dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion.

.4 If you’d like to learn more about how we create a culture of diversity and inclusion at New York Life, read more here.


1“About African American History Month”. African American History Month government website. Accessed February 02, 2021.

2“About African American History Month”. African American History Month government website. Accessed February 02, 2021.

3“Edelman Trust Barometer 2021”. Accessed February 02, 2021.


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Media contact
Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-6955

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