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ICYMI: Cast Members Celebrating #BlackHistoryMonth

Nichole Hamilton

by , Manager, Employee Culture & Advocacy

Throughout February, we recognized #BlackHistoryMonth, also now known as “Black History Always” by sharing stories about the incredible contributions, accomplishments and voices of Black cast members across Disney.

Our Business Employee Resource Groups (BERGs) marked the month with a series of virtual, community and cast-exclusive events. Cast members participated in special offerings hosted by the Black and African American BERGs across our company such as PULSE on both coasts, including Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Signature Experiences and Wakanda@Disney, among others. Today, we’re excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at a handful of those events including “Black Table Talk,” a candid discussion on leader perspectives as advocates influencing business and culture.

Another impactful event was the “Sistas’” Luncheon, featuring an insightful conversation with Walt Disney Imagineering’s Barbara Bouza, President of Walt Disney Imagineering Operations, Design and Delivery, and Asya Peña, Ride Mechanical Engineer. They shared their experiences as Black women in engineering and architecture, and discussed the perseverance and dedication that helped them succeed in an industry where Black women are a minority.

Asya Peña, Ride Mechanical Engineer

As a way to engage and inspire the future creators and inventors of tomorrow, members of PULSE Florida partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. Cast members joined students to discuss their favorite Black inventors, including Dr. Shirley Jackson who invented caller ID and call waiting, Alexander Miles who patented automated closing and opening of elevator doors and ice cream scoop inventor Alfred L. Cralle. The students were so excited leading up to this event, that they conducted their own research and surprised cast members with presentations on their favorite Black Inventors too.

Cast members join students to discuss their favorite Black inventors

In case you missed it, we invite you to learn more about the cast members who helped us commemorate this year’s Black History Month. Demarcus Johnson kicked off the month by sharing his work supporting authentic representation across our consumer products, games and publishing initiatives. You also met Disneyland’s Chris Sheppard and Disney Signature Experiences’ Tracey Powell, who are both mentoring and developing the next generation of Black leaders. Carmen Smith shared how she and her colleagues at Walt Disney Imagineering are working to better represent the diversity of our cast members and guests in our attractions and experiences. Leonard Spencer, our Director of Supplier Diversity, was celebrated as he was named a Social Justice Game Changer by the Orlando Magic for his work supporting communities of color and minority-owned businesses.

As we close out the month, we wanted to share ways that you can continue the celebrations. If you enjoyed learning about Demarcus’ dedication to elevating and showcasing Black voices, then you can check out the Pixar’s SOUL x HUE Unlimited collection of apparel and accessories featuring designs from Black artists, which he helped bring to life. You can also celebrate Black stories by diving into books from Black authors like Brandy Colbert, Bryan Collier and Jason Reynolds. For the list of books by Black authors, visit Disney Books. Or you can enjoy the latest updates from Marvel Games, which include reflections on the achievements and contributions of iconic Black Super Heroes throughout the Marvel Universe.

Celebrate Black stories by diving into books from Black authors at Disney Books

All year round, we strive to reflect our commitment to inclusion in the opportunities we provide, the stories we tell and the magic we create for fans and families – and we look forward to continuing these important and inspiring conversations with our cast members and our guests.

Follow along on our Disney Parks, Experiences and Products social handles, Instagram: @DisneyParksBlog, Twitter: @DisneyParks, and Facebook: @DisneyParksBlog, using the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth.

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