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It’s Black History Month and it is a month where we are reminded what our black brothers and sisters have gone through and continue to grow through as racism is still very prevalent. It is also a month to celebrate their contributions in culture, religion, politics, the arts, you name it. It is a month of awareness, too. I am not African-American but I am bi-racial, mixed black, white, Brazilian Native Americans and the list goes on and on.

I was very moved by my company’s Chief Marketing Officer’s, Kevin Warren, letter to his team. As a successful black man, he shares a bit of how it is for him to be a black man in America. With his permission, I am sharing the letter he wrote to the entire team at UPS. It is beautifully written, thought-provoking and vulnerable:

February is the month we celebrate Black History in the United States. While this is a time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans, it’s also a time to further reflect on the impacts of systemic racism in our country.

Last June I sent a letter to this team in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, sharing some of the actions that UPS is taking to address inequality in our country. These efforts included providing $4.2 million to programs that support racial equality, increasing our volunteer efforts to support Black communities and expanding our internal unconscious bias training.

What I didn’t share is my own experience of living as a Black man in America, so I’d like to do that today. This story doesn’t end in tragedy like so many others, but I hope it provides a little perspective.

Three years ago I moved from DC to Atlanta to start my journey at UPS. My wife, Debbie, and I bought a house in Buckhead. If you’re not from the Atlanta area, Buckhead is a very nice neighborhood within the city limits – it’s home for many of Atlanta’s business leaders (including some other members of our ELT), politicians and celebrities. The Governor’s mansion is right down the road from my house.

When my family came to visit for Thanksgiving that first year, we got ready to go out for a family walk – a Thanksgiving tradition in the Warren household. We were all set and ready to go, I grabbed my driver’s license, and we went for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood.

Our walk was uneventful, but later that evening I began wondering to myself: why did I feel compelled to bring my license? We weren’t driving anywhere. This is a nice neighborhood, surely nothing bad was going to happen on a mid-day Thanksgiving stroll.

But that’s just it. I’m a Black man, and I live in a nice neighborhood. Anything could happen, and I always need to be prepared.

Would my White colleagues, who live right down the road, feel compelled to bring a photo ID on a family walk? Probably not.

I carry my ID with me even though I graduated from a prestigious university. I carry my ID with me even though I’m the CMO of a Fortune 50 company. I carry my ID with me because racism is real, and it’s pervasive.

I share this perspective with all of you to remind us that despite the advances we’ve made, and continue to make, there’s still a lot of work to be done to eradicate racial injustice and inequality around the world. If we polled our Marketing department, I suspect I’d hear similar stories from many of you. 

Where do we go from here? 

As individuals, we can make a difference by educating ourselves and participating in more conversations about race and equality. There are so many great resources out there, including dozens of books and articles that can help you get started.

As Kevin says, as individuals we can do our part to learn, share and, eventually, eradicate eradicate racism. You might think this is impossible but, if each one of us commits to a greater good, miracles can happen.


Simone Santos

I am Brazilian by birth, American by heart! I created Cool N Chic with the intent of spreading the message that we are all "cool" in our own and authentic ways. Cool N Chic was created to bring people of all backgrounds together through mindfulness, self-development, healthy living and the desire to be fearlessly authentic. Even though I created this blog, it is not mine. It is ours and I welcome you, your wisdom and your energy.

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