Juneteenth Interview Series: Brian Carter, Media Director
Today we will continue our celebration of Juneteenth with our next entry….
On June 19th, 1865, General Order Number 3 was read to all individuals residing in Galveston, Texas, proclaiming that all slaves in America, including in the state of Texas, were henceforth free. June 19th, or Juneteenth, marks a very specific date where major progress in our country was not only made, but more importantly enforced. The battle for racial equality has and will continue, but since the inception of Juneteenth there have been other major strides and successes among African American individuals or diverse groups.
The following is a quote from Harmelin Media’s president, Mary Meder:
“Last year, amid a summer of unrest and a social justice revolution, we recognized Juneteenth for the first time as a company. This year, we are proud to expand that effort and shine a brighter light on the significance of this date for Black Americans. Over the past several years, the company has made progress in growing staff diversity, introduced DEI training and talked more frankly about issues concerning race and equality. But we acknowledge how much more there is to do to fulfill our company commitment to equity and inclusion. We salute the Black leaders within Harmelin and thank them for sharing a bit of themselves for this series of interviews, and we appreciate the work that members of the Cares and SHADE committees are doing, working together, to highlight Juneteenth.”
To celebrate Juneteenth and diversity in the company we recently interviewed African American leaders at Harmelin. Today we would like to recognize Brian Carter!
What does Juneteenth mean to you?
The establishment of Juneteenth is a pivotal and empowering moment within our culture. Juneteenth represents the acknowledgement that a system of hate was eradicated, and it is a celebration of progression within the United States. Juneteenth for me signifies that all of the trials and tribulations that my ancestors experienced did not go unrecognized. Juneteenth is a permanent reminder that people fought for equality with their very own lives in an effort to topple this divisive system.
In your opinion, what is the most important reason for celebrating Juneteenth?
The celebration of Juneteenth means that the recognition of a stain within our nation’s history was recognized and eradicated, and the pride that comes with overcoming such massive hardship for African Americans should be recognized and celebrated. The ability to celebrate Juneteenth means that we are holding our nation accountable for unacceptable and unspeakable acts of hate. Most importantly the establishment of Juneteenth ensures that these appalling acts will never be duplicated within our US history.
How would you like to see society celebrate/observe Juneteenth?
I believe an appropriate observation of Juneteenth would be the execution of some sort of consistent knowledge share and background of the meaning of Juneteenth and how it has impacted our history in general. The cultural significance of Juneteenth should be expressed and shared within our education system.
Do you think it should be a national holiday? If so let us know why.
I think it would be a pivotal moment in our society if Juneteenth was in fact recognized as a national holiday, especially given the current climate of our nation. While it doesn’t erase the painful history attached to slavery, making this moment nationally recognized creates much needed awareness and allows us to acknowledge the impact of slavery as a cohesive nation. At the very least, a day of observance in all regions of the country should be implemented to increase awareness.
What has been your greatest success at Harmelin?
During my tenure here at Harmelin, I would say that my greatest success has been the ability to be nimble and adapt my role and responsibilities based on the company’s need. In order for the company to advance, it required a reorganization of the digital team. We split the digital team members into activation-focused roles and planning-focused roles. Those who were focusing on digital planning were dispersed to the various planning teams. To that end, I was able to apply my leadership skills and actively assist in the development of junior staff members during this challenging transitional period, and mentor more people in digital planning.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My mother has been an inspiring force in my life. Throughout my life she consistently reinforced the fact that hard work and perseverance will provide the ability to maximize my opportunities. I saw firsthand how she efficiently maintained our household while my father worked countless hours within a grueling industry. While doing so she not only maintained her own career while raising three children, but she also made the decision to further her education by enrolling into college classes in the evenings. I recognized early that my mom is a true inspiration to me which directly fueled my commitment to succeed and make her proud.
Working with people from different backgrounds or cultures can present unique opportunities for collaboration and creativity. Please describe a time where a project or decision you made was enhanced by including diverse perspectives.
It is important to be inclusive when you’re in a situation where there are several people working on a project and having diverse perspectives can be beneficial, mainly because it makes people think outside the box and forces people out of their comfort zone. A direct example of this was the Dale Carnegie training which I was a part of (pre-pandemic). These training sessions were an excellent platform for me to experience, as it truly forced the participants out of our comfort zones and allowed us to directly leverage our strengths and tackle our weaknesses while simultaneously working with others with varying backgrounds through challenging situations.
In your opinion, how would you like to see your environment grow with diversity in the future?
Currently, I feel like my environment as it exists is surprisingly quite diversified. However, what I am unsure of is the level of acceptance of said diversity which exists. Obviously based on the current social climate there is a heightened awareness as it relates to cultural diversity, which is a good initial step. To that end, my hope is that this progression continues without the ongoing presence of social injustice.
What is your approach to understanding the perspectives of colleagues from different backgrounds?
Given the current state of our society and how race and culture has now garnered the national awareness spotlight, I think it is more crucial now more than ever to be sensitive and cognizant of individuals with various backgrounds. When working with colleagues of diverse backgrounds, we need to always remember that everyone’s opinion truly does hold weight. We may not always understand or agree with one another’s perspectives but we should always respect their opinions and provide individuals an opportunity to be heard accordingly.
Positive change is necessary in our society, and we should continue to strive for it. Whether it is within a media marketing company, in our homes, our community, or our city, we must ensure that the fight for equal rights continues. While doing so, it is also important to take time and recognize those that have made such amazing changes and have been so positive in our environment. At Harmelin, we hope to accomplish this for every race and ethnicity, focusing these days on African Americans as Juneteenth approaches.
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