Wednesday, March 02 | Netsmart Life

Celebrating Diversity and Recognizing Adversity: Black History Month 2022

By Wendy Hill, Chief People Officer

Last year Netsmart launched Associate Resource Groups (ARG), a workplace network for associates with shared characteristics, interests or life experiences committed to a diverse workplace. Tapestry, our newly branded ARG, honored the month by providing a variety of resources including book recommendations, a music playlist, Black History Month Events, Supporting Black-owned Businesses, and more. 

Tapestry’s mission is to create a safe and inclusive environment for associates from historically marginalized racial and ethnic backgrounds, where they can be their true authentic selves. By leveraging the unique insights, talents, and knowledge gained from experiences as members of marginalized groups, these individuals guide our compass by finding new ways to bring social justice, cultural inclusivity, and change to our community. 

Exploring the areas we have observed and learned during Black History Month, our associates who participated in reading from our Tapestry Curated Book List shed light on themes and messages they found when diving into the novels surrounding topics of prejudice, race and justice.


Book Reviews:

An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones

The title would lead you to believe you were going to dive into a beautiful love story shared between a husband and wife…while those of us who are married know that our union isn't always rainbows and butterflies, Tayari Jones captures the true essence of beautiful complexities of black love. Celestial and Roy are "black couple goals". The black community is proud of their love and looks to them as a black power couple: middle class, well-educated, and on the path to "white" wealth. All that comes to a halt when Roy is wrongly convicted of rape and sentenced to twelve years in prison just a year into their marriage. Jones unpacks the unfortunate truth through this love story: black people can pursue the American dream…but only in the confines of systematic racism. This truth is reinforced when the characters in the book rejoice at Roy's conviction….it is a lesser sentence to death by police.

As if the complexities of marriage aren't enough, Celestial and Roy are faced with the difficulties of navigating their union in the worst "long distance relationship" they could have imagined. Can they stick it out? Read it to find out.
- Ashton Williams, Learning Strategist, HR Associate Development



Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

"Ultimate Page Turner" does not even do Small Great Things an ounce of justice. Read this novel if you want to challenge your mindset, develop your emotional intelligence, and grow an empathetic heart.

The story unfolds with Ruth Jefferson, a black female nurse who has been a phenomenal L&D nurse for over 20 years. After being demanded to stop providing care for white supremacists Turk and Brittany Bauer and their newborn son, Davis, one moment changes everything for Ruth. The ward is short-handed, and Ruth is forced to watch over Davis in the nursery when all of the sudden he stops breathing. Does she follow her oath as a nurse and save his life? Or does she comply with the demands of The Bauers and refrain from providing care for Davis? What happens when neither decision works in her favor? Picoult beautifully captures the harsh realities of white privilege, racism, and social injustice. The ending is the plot twist of the century.  
- Ashton Williams, Learning Strategist, HR Associate Development


The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

“Hearing the story from the characters’ individual voices makes it easy to step inside others’ lives and imagine more clearly the pain and self-loathing each feels as a result of internal and external forces.”
- Liz Thiel, Vice President of Human Resources

Meet the Author

Wendy Hill · Chief People Officer

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