Jefferson City, MO – Yesterday, State of Missouri hosted the 2021 Black History Month Celebration.
For the first time ever, the celebration was held virtually, which allowed the ceremony to connect and be shared with many more citizens across Missouri. Over 1500 tuned in to view the ceremony and were able to hear from Governor Mike Parson, State Representative Ashley Bland-Manlove, and Gary Hill, Chief of Police for Lincoln University & Director of the Lincoln University Law Enforcement Academy, who gave the keynote address. Entertainment was provided by our talented state team members.
Governor Mike Parson welcomed everyone for attending and thanked the state agencies for their work and stressed the importance at honoring and remembering black history.
“These celebrations are a great example of what we can accomplish together here in Missouri,” said Governor Parson. “Let’s all remember that Black history is American history. Together, we celebrate the rich diversity of our country and the legacies that helped make our great nation.”
Chief Hill spoke about the need for diversity and inclusion in our state agencies to fully represent the communities we serve and how he is seeing that reflection within the Law Enforcement Academy’s recruits.
“I always thought Lincoln University would be a great place for an academy. It’s a great place to recruit diversity for our law enforcement agencies. It was refreshing to see so much interest from our community in this program. Especially from our African American community,” said Chief Hill. “Many of our recruits in their interview told us that they wanted to be the change that they wanted to see in law enforcement.”
Chief Hill continued by focusing how the academy is teaming up with the Department of Social Services to provide internships for their recruits.
Added Hill, “Supervisors we’ve spoken to are great leaders who understand the need for diversity and inclusion in our state offices. Leaders who understand the need for governmental agencies to represent all ethnicities in the communities we serve.”
Since bringing back this celebration 4 years ago, this event has continued to increase in both size and viewership. This year’s event was coordinated by members of the Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development, Department of Revenue, and the Office of Administration.
“We would also like to thank the Legislative Black Caucus for their integral part in helping make the 4th Annual Black History Month celebration such a success,” said Commissioner Sarah Steelman, Office of Administration. “It is important to take time to pause and recognize the special contributions made by African Americans.”
“As we look to build a more inclusive workforce in the State of Missouri, it’s important that we continue to celebrate diversity by delivering events like the Black History Month Celebration along with many others to show our true intentions and commitment to these efforts,” said Corey Bolton, Director, Office of Equal Opportunity.
Chief Hill closed by mentioning three important things, “We can go further together. Without inclusion in our state agencies, there is no diversity. We must push the narrative of kindness, decency, and love for all mankind.”
In case you missed the ceremony, you can view it here.