This month Quartet celebrated Black History Month by focusing on the meaning of legacy. One of our many employee resource groups, Quartet for the Black Culture (QBC), kicked off February by creating a living museum in our New York office with several displays sharing information about African-American organizations, leaders, philanthropists, innovators, and authors stationed throughout the Quartet common areas. Two exceptional pieces were donated by our General Counsel, Teresia Bost — first is the bill of sale for her great, great, great grandfather and his family who were purchased and then a will granting their freedom, and granting him property and money, which was very rare.
This month, Quartet’s Book Club featured Just Mercy, a novel chronicling Bryan Stevenson’s fight against another legacy of slavery — mass incarceration in the United States. Mass incarceration in the U.S. disproportionately impacts African-Americans. This is caused by the over-policing of black communities, and a lack of resources and opportunities which leads to more crimes as well as generational trauma.
Generational trauma is a legacy of slavery that is inherited through the bloodline. The lack of resources combined with the stigma against mental health conditions means that much of this trauma goes unhealed. African-Americans experience mental health conditions at the same rate as the general population, however they are less likely to seek help and often will misattribute the symptoms of mental health conditions. To learn more about this, Quartet hosted Dr. Eugena Griffin as a guest speaker.
Dr. Griffin is an experienced psychologist, author and assistant professor at the City University of New York. She has spent many of her years studying race, vulnerability, stress and coping. Dr. Griffin’s talk focused on the lack of cultural competence of standardized diagnostic tools like the DSM-5, and the adverse effects of ignoring the biology, psychology, and social realities of the individuals being diagnosed. By failing to account for how these interconnected aspects interact in the etiology of mental illness, many individuals (especially those within the Black Community) are misdiagnosed and receive insufficient and/or ineffective treatment. Dr. Griffin also highlighted the importance of community in healing from generational trauma.
Also, in light of Black History Month, we decided to support and grow our own local community. We are supporting black-owned restaurants this month, including Adrii’s Kitchen and Simply Southern, who have catered our lunches for Quartet’s NYC office.
Also, we are partnering with Dr. Griffin’s organization, Psychological Mentoring Group, to help mentor emerging African-American women leaders who are transitioning from undergraduate to graduate education.
The legacy of African-Americans is a strong one filled with unspeakable horrors and amazing triumphs. By learning about both and celebrating the progress we’ve made, we can build our own legacy of healing, inclusion, and innovation.