Every February, the United States celebrates the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans that have shaped the country. We asked a few of AAE’s top speakers to share with us what Black History Month means to them. S. Lee Merritt, attorney, Michael Twitty, culinary historian, and Bakari Sellers, political commentator, will inspire you to reflect on those who fought for civil rights before us and what we can do to honor their memories.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion topics rose to the forefront of conversation in recent years, and as we continue to grow and improve as a society, these topics will only become more relevant. When you book experts like these, you allow your organization to be a part of the conversation in a meaningful way.

Black History Month is an annual reminder of our duty to honor our ancestors by retelling their stories and preserving our rich legacy. African Americans’ contributions to the fabric of the USA are often obscured but remain undeniable in the American odyssey. Black History Month is our opportunity to amplify black achievement in order to empower the next generation of black accomplishment.

— S. Lee Merritt

S. Lee Merritt is an attorney and activist whose practice focuses on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. He’s currently representing Ahmaud Arbery’s family. His office led the way for police reform in Texas, a state notorious for its failure to prosecute officers, advocating for the first murder indictments of officers in the state in over 40 years. Merritt is creating a safer future for the next generation.

Black History Month should be seen in light of its original intent; to be the dawn, to shed a light that grows and consumes. Our story is of national and international importance but it’s also very personal and internal and it’s critical that those of us of African descent in the United States, the Americas, the Diaspora, own this as a journey we are a part of.

— Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty, culinary historian and food writer. His book “The Cooking Gene” was given the James Beard award for best book of the year, making him the first Black author to be awarded. Twitty’s work continues to be nominated for awards as he devotedly documents Southern food heritage. His story reminds us that our history is what makes us who we are today.

When I think about the contributions of our people, Black History Month is a glimpse of our greatness and can never truly capture what we have done and continue to pour into this country. It is an opportunity for us to illuminate and educate. For me Black History is American History.

— Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers is an attorney, political commentator, and former South Carolina State Representative. Sellers made history when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. He proves that anyone can make a difference at any age, a lesson he is now teaching to his twins.

Share with us what Black History Month means to you by tweeting us at @AllAmericanEnt_