Every February, millions across the United States shine a spotlight on the life-changing contributions and rich history of black people. A corporation that prides itself on being diverse and inclusive, Delta is highlighting one of its very own, Kimberly Boykin, in recognition of Black History Month.
Kim currently serves as Vice President of BOLD, Delta’s Black Community Business Resource Group (BRG) and as a Customer Experience Specialist – Reservation Sales.
Kim shares what Black History Month means to her, highlighting some of BOLD’s plans in celebration of the month, and explained how she’s used her passion for black culture to enlighten colleagues across the company.
February has officially arrived, which means it’s Black History Month. Can you briefly explain what the month means to you?
Black history is a part of who I am, it has always been. Growing up in Atlanta, a place unofficially known as the civil rights capital, it was important for me to know my history. Every year, on January 15, my school celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday — before it became a national holiday. I had an opportunity to see Civil Rights icons like Hosea Williams, Ralph David Abernathy and Joseph Lowery as a teen. As an adult, I worked on both Maynard Jackson and Andrew Young’s mayoral campaigns and did so many other amazing things that immersed me in not only black history, but Atlanta history.
For me, Black History Month is about celebrating our accomplishments and achievements. From historical inventions like the traffic light to more cutting-edge technology in recent years, a lot of the tools we use were created by black people, and that helps me encourage our younger generation. ‘Hey, if this person was able to do this, you’re able to do it.’ It’s so important for them to know what others before them have accomplished.
You currently serve as the V.P. of BOLD. What are some things Delta has in store for employees during Black History Month?
BOLD is hosting several initiatives during Black History Month. To start, we’re relaunching our Black History Month SkyHub Challenge again this year, which will kick off Monday, Feb. 10. ‘Go take a picture in front of the MLK sign in your neighborhood. Visit a civil rights museum in your city or station, take a picture and share it with us.’ The challenge is an opportunity to get membership to show their peers what black history looks like in their community.
BOLD is also providing suggestions and input to feature cultural meals in Delta’s Atlanta-based cafeterias later in the month. Additionally, a few members from our BOLD leadership team will be joining members in LGA and JFK for “Real Talk: Chat. Chew. Connect.” on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the LGA airport, which is an opportunity for people to meet and discuss future activities for members in the area.
Lastly, we’re partnering with the Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion to host a private screening of Just Mercy, along with a fireside chat with Bryan Stevenson, the real-life activist attorney portrayed in the film and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. The screening will be held in Atlanta on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
Why is it important for an entity like BOLD to have a presence at Delta?
BOLD has served as an avenue to help so many people get to know black culture and history.’ The common denominator that connects us, no matter our color, nationality, religion or culture, is our heart. Delta recognizes that the people are the core of the company. That is one of the reasons why we have organizations like BOLD and our other BRGs. We provide an outlet for our members to leverage their unique perspectives to help innovate and drive business solutions. As a group, we also provide professional development, exposure to leadership and opportunities for members to meet colleagues outside of their regular work environments. All these things connect us and create a culture of inclusion. That’s the Delta difference.
As a black woman passionate about black history and culture, how have you brought your unique experiences to Delta?
I have made a concentrated effort to share my personal knowledge and experience, as well as information I have read regarding my race’s history, with my Delta family. As a member of the Atlanta ResLINC team, I shared weekly Black History facts and figures with our team and, through BOLD, have helped present annual events to highlight our achievements over the years. For example, in 2015, BOLD (then known as the Black Employee Network) made one of the Tuskegee Airmen an honorary Delta Pilot. In 2016, we held a special viewing of the first silent movie featuring an all-black cast. Additionally, we played a significant role in the 50th Anniversary of the “March on Selma,” and also supported the viewing of “Maynard,” a documentary about Atlanta’s first black mayor, Maynard Jackson. Celebrating our culture and the achievements that have helped to shape who we are today is very important to me and I will continue to share with all who are willing to listen.