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February marks the start of Black History Month, an annual celebration of the contributions that African Americans have made to this country and a time to recognize their role in U.S. history and reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice. For this year’s celebration, PPOSBC is spotlighting an employee who embodies our WE CARE values and feels a strong connection to our mission. 

Ashli Williams is a Recruiter within our Human Resources team. She is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and has been with Planned Parenthood for four months. As a recruiter, Ashli screens and selects qualified candidates to interview for internal positions. We connected with Ashli to learn more about her role, her motivations, and how her heritage has shaped her life. Here is her story in her own words. 

What inspired you to get into this type of work?

“I love people. I was the child who’s report card would say ‘Ashli is a joy to have in class, but we have to work on her talking during class to her classmates’. Letting someone know that they can begin a career that they have been pursuing is such a joy. There’s nothing like calling a candidate on a Friday afternoon and saying: You got the job!”
 

How has your heritage shaped the person that you are today?

“Being an African American woman definitely comes with its challenges. I grew up with very strong females in my family. My grandmother had her doctorate in Education, and she made sure that we all knew education was a ticket to succeeding. Seeing different challenges that my family members would have to go through or different hoops to jump over just to get what they deserve made me strong, adverse, and resourceful. Me succeeding today is making my ancestors so proud, so I make sure my voice is heard and do all the things they couldn’t do in their honor.”
 

Does your heritage help you connect with the people we serve or your work?

“Yes, working in corporate America I didn’t always see people that looked like me or my family members. Now as a recruiter I have a chance to add diversity into different organizations that I worked in. Giving all people of color a chance to make their mark is so fulfilling! I’m so proud to be a part of making sure that diversity and inclusion are in different workspaces.” 
 

What does Black History Month mean to you?

“Black History month means honor. This month we honor and acknowledge not just the pain, suffering, and struggle, but the power, success, and the beauty of my people. This month means education, if we do not continue to speak our true history, traditions, and legacies our child will never know their true history. Unfortunately, schools are teaching less and less about Back cultures. So, we as a people need to make sure that our young people know more than just the Greats that schools shine light on. There is so much more to Black History than Dr. King, Harriet Tubman, and Malcom X. Yes, they are great but there’s so much more!” 
 

Do you have any traditions that are especially important to you?

“I guess I would say my tradition is family gatherings. There is nothing better than all of my family being in one house just like we grew up. Eating the foods of our cultures. Food is also so important to Black History, during slavery the slaves would get all of the scraps the slave owners didn’t want, and they made scraps taste amazing. That’s just another example of how resourceful and resilient we are as a people.” 
 

Any last comments?

“The last thing that I would like to share is that slavery has only been “abolished” 158 years ago. Honestly that is not that long ago and unfortunately, we are still experiencing it in 2023. Education, sensitivity, and awareness are the only ways to help lessen the senseless violence and wrongdoing we are currently experiencing today. Black history is really all of our history, African Americans have invented, creating, and developed many things we all use today. It's okay for other cultures to honor and respect cultures that are not their own. It doesn’t dim the light on anyone’s culture to love, honor, and respect another.”

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