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IBIBISBIB: I believe. I believe. It's silly, but I believe.


I Celebrate Black History Month.

By Greg Weber
President and CEO

There is so much I do not know about Black History.  I had a late start.  I didn’t meet a person of color until my high school years, and by this time I had been taught to be cautious of any person of color.  It wasn’t until college that I actually engaged in a conversation with an African American.  It was after a Theatre 101 class and the guy walked up to me and asked where the theatre box office was located.  I hesitated….he started to walk off…then I blurted “I’ll show you.”  The conversation was simple – we were both freshmen, he was from Indianapolis and studying economics, I was from a rural community….nothing earthshattering.  But that simple conversation started a change in me – this black man was not intimidating, not threatening – he appeared in all aspects just like me – a young person trying to make it in life.


It wasn't until 1991 that I worked professionally with black artists.  This was my first close relationship in the workplace with African Americans.  With other artists, I had been accustomed to direct, professional meetings in our work sessions.  This cast was different.  It was boisterous, energetic, lots of happiness – we worked hard, but we took great joy in each other and being with each other.  My change continued.

When in Houston, I worked with Melissa – a black woman.  Melissa is not just smart, she is brilliant.  She could have been anything and chose to be a singer.  Through my friendship with Melissa, I discovered for the first-time black history.  I discovered this
history as she shared with me being followed in department stores, as she had charges added to her car repair that were not relevant to the repair being performed, even as we walked down the street just talking.  For the first time in my life, it became clear to me a person of color's struggles and challenges in this world.  Because of Melissa, I work each day to be the person who treats everyone fairly; I work hard to not judge; I welcome all who approach me.  I am not always successful, but I do not give up.  I do not want to fail my friend - and potential new friends.


Black History month for me is a celebration of those people of color who, throughout my life, have broken down the barrier created by others in my youth.  I celebrate this month their success, their challenges, their determination, but most of all I celebrate their impact in my life and how getting to know them has made me a better, stronger person.  They have taught me the bravery of ordinary acts – and that to see others one must have the courage to leave the comfort of our own shores.  They gave me the gift of seeing that every person I meet, regardless of color, has potential.  They helped to forge the foundation of my belief in humanity.

That is what I celebrate every Black History Month.


 

Archive Blogs

August 2019: Fayet-Tales
September 2019: International Samaritan
October 2019: Love.Local
November 2019: Thankful for the Arts 
December 2019: The Weber Santa Claus
January 2020: Create 2020