Black History Month & Beyond: How We’re Making an Impact that's Making History
Updated: Feb 9
In celebration of Black History Month, we honor the leaders who paved the pathway to civil rights and set humanity’s sights on striving for equity. We also look to the future: It is vital that we make explicit how critical people of color are to the biotech ecosystem and STEM(M) - Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Medical fields as a whole. In Athari Bio’s lab practice, we are focused on ensuring racial, ethnic, age, ability and gender diversity in the datasets that are the foundation of genomic and other healthcare breakthroughs, in the education and training we provide, as well as the leaders and team members who are doing the work.
And we have work to do:
African Americans make up 13% of the population but hold only 3% of executive positions at biotech firms. Citation to learn more.
Nearly 90% of the DNA studied today - and therefore the DNA research, diagnostics and treatments derived - are of European descent. Citation to learn more.
As a diverse team on a unified mission, we also acknowledge and carry forth the roots of science itself, grounded in Egyptian and Mesopotamian soil. Our very namesake honors this truth: Athari means “impact” in Swahili. “In this light, looking forward to Black History Month years and decades from now, we are deeply driven and excited to think about the impact we will have made, together.”
- Athari Bio CEO Susan Mitchell
We are proud to feature pivotal organizations that are making history today by closing the gap of America's health inequities. These are just a few organizations that we work with:
The Faith-based Genetic Research Institute’s mission is to educate, empower and elevate populations, primarily of people of color, on the benefits of being engaged with the medical community and advanced therapeutics. Two members of our leadership team, Dr. Tshaka Cunningham and Dr. Kareem Washington serve on the Board of Directors. Learn more and get involved at www.fbgri.org/.
Future Kings uses education, mentoring, training, practical experiences, and mastery of 21st century technology in order to create a pipeline of young men from underserved communities who excel in STEM related careers and positively influence their communities. Dr. Tshaka Cunningham has led groups of middle and high school aged students in various hands-on research projects, and we’re working to ensure that Future Queens will be coming soon! Learn more and get involved at www.future-kings.org.
At the NAACP Loudoun Branch, Susan Mitchell serves both the Economic Development & Health Committees with an emphasis on ensuring Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Ability (DEIA). The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Chartered in 1940, the Loudoun Branch of the NAACP is one of the oldest branches of the NAACP. Learn more and get involved at www.naacploudoun.org.
Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce’s DEIA Committee is currently building initiatives led by Toolkit Subcommittee Chair Susan Mitchell. These local efforts support creating a culture of DEIA among 1,200 local businesses and their northern Virginia communities. Learn more and get involved at www.loudounchamber.org/.