February 20, 2023

Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Gillian Harriott

  • Name: Gillian Harriott
  • Title: Paralegal
  • Years at KK: 3 years, 9 months
  • Moment in black history that influenced or shaped my career: My Jamaican culture and heritage has overall shaped my life and who I am. Growing up I was always influenced by education and by strong educators who graciously, eloquently, and passionately taught their subjects. I thought, and continue to teach my children, that education and knowledge are vital to succeeding.
  • Favorite Quote or Mantra: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frighten us…We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us;…and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
  • Why celebrating Black History Month is important: I’m Jamaican-born and a proud American who has lived in this country for over 20 years. The national motto of Jamaica is “Out of many, One people.” It too is a melting pot much like America. It was a constant reminder, that though our backgrounds, status, and color looked different, we were One. We stood as One. Jamaicans are some of the most confident people I know to this day. I believe celebrating black history month is vital because it is a powerful tool to unite and continue to educate every individual. While it reminds some of the past, it introduces to others the diverse cultures, struggles, and celebrations of a fellow man. In a country where people from varying backgrounds don’t represent the majority, it is possible for there to be a lack of understanding of other cultures which contributes to discrimination, among other things. Thus, a celebration of one’s history is at best a great way to help bridge some of those misunderstandings and cultivate empathy.
  • Who inspires me: My grandmother. Though she couldn’t finish her secondary education due to the death of her mom and had to raise her siblings, she worked multiple jobs to support her family. Her legacy of children and grandchildren who have gone on to earn their post-secondary education is a reminder that we should appreciate everyone. Everyday hard-working people who defy the odds and continue to excel, regardless of education and economic status, like my grandma, inspire me.
  • Conversation with civil rights activist: Bob Marley, even through his music, was an advocate for the rights of black people, speaking against poverty and oppression. His music is liberating, and I would have just loved to have a conversation with this global icon.