Medica is creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive culture. To help guide employees along this journey, the organization has developed employee resource groups (ERGs). These are groups of employees who share a common diversity characteristic or life experience (e.g., gender, disability status, religion or belief system, ethnicity or race, sexual orientation, generation) or are supporters (which we call Allies) of an ERG.
In December of each year, Kwanzaa is observed to honor African heritage, unity and culture. Medica has embraced the importance and value of this community through its Black Excellence ERG.
The term Black Excellence is a relatively new one with roots in similar terms, such as “Black power,” that grew out of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. According to dictionary.com, today the term is used to describe the celebration of contribution and success in the Black community.
Black Excellence at Medica
Medica’s Black Excellence ERG has more than 60 members who encourage all Medica employees to learn about, recognize and support Black culture.
We have a health equity sub-committee that aims to help the organization understand health inequities in the Black community. Another initiative is the Talent Mobility pilot program, which provides a mentor/mentee relationship with the opportunity to encourage organization awareness and growth through a project management approach. The aim of the Talent Mobility program is professional development and cultural awareness for both the mentor and mentee.
When racial issues occur in the community, our employees need support and the Black Excellence ERG is a safe space where Black employees and their allies can discuss these problems and possibly identify solutions for both Medica employees and the community. Essentially, Medica Black Excellence and its other ERGs provide a platform for all employees to have courageous conversations, which seldom take place at work.
Beyond helping to bring light to issues of racial injustice, our ERG members contribute to the communities we serve. The group has volunteered with local nonprofit partners at Juneteenth events, which celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, and supported Medica’s presence at Rondo Days, which commemorates the Rondo African American community in St. Paul. Medica Black Excellence also participated in the National Alliance on Mental Illness walk.
The Black Excellence ERG partners with other Medica ERGs to support additional community efforts such as volunteering at the Sabathani Community Center food shelf in Minneapolis with the Women’s Leadership Forum ERG.
The Black Excellence ERG not only supports Medica’s Black employees and their allies, it also normalizes cultures that have been largely marginalized and unseen throughout American history.