Warm Welcome, OBT Community, and happy Black History Month!   

Since 1976, every U.S. President has designated February Black History Month. This month of celebration and awareness is a time to reflect and focus on the contributions of African Americans in this country, as well as the incredible sacrifices despite the history of racism and oppression.  We invite you to join us as we celebrate Black History today and every day. 

Since its inception, Black History Month has endorsed a theme. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” which explores how African Americans have resisted oppression in all forms. In exploring these challenges, we learn a lot about the integrity, determination, leadership, and resistance deeply rooted in the African American foundation. Overcoming adversities has built strength in character and we will honor and celebrate Black History throughout the month. 

A vital step OBT has taken to ensure that Black History Month is not just a one-month experience but a year-round acknowledgment is the formation and ongoing work of our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee (DE&I).   During my administration, I’m proud that this committee has written our external facing Diversity & Racial Equity Mission statement that embodies what we believe and our commitment to our values and each other.  

As the President and CEO of a non-profit organization that predominantly serves people of color, I remain committed to the mission of equality and equity.  For 2023, we are expanding our DE&I journey to focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility & Belonging (DEIA&B).   Our DEIA&B statement broadens our reach and celebrates the benefits that diversity and inclusion bring to our organization.  We will continue to advocate for equity for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, abilities, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic status, and family composition.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to renew my commitment to these ideals and continue having essential conversations on this topic’s importance.  Please take a moment to view the monthly statements on our website. https://obtjobs.org/about/ 

As we continue these impactful discussions, we must take a moment to celebrate and honor the Black leaders that have shaped our history. Their contributions have empowered individuals and organizations like OBT to fight for inclusion. We embody this in our efforts to level the economic and workforce playing field for youth, adults, and families. OBT’s legacy is a celebration of diversity and inclusion. With the support of the OBT team, board, partners, and donors, we can continue to do the impactful work of reversing cycles of poverty and inequity through education, job training, and employment. 

Thank you for your continued support and partnership. Let’s keep pressing forward – There’s more work to be done. 

Enjoy the Black History Month Celebrations! 

Yours in Service 

Dr. Darlene Williams  
President & Chief Executive Officer