Kelley Kronenberg’s Black History Month Employee Spotlight feature is Sydney Espeut. Sydney is a Law Clerk for the firm. In her own words, learn about her role, her motivations and how Black History has shaped her life.
Tell us about a moment in black history that influenced or shaped your career? A moment in black history month that influenced or shaped my career would be the day that Charlotte E. Ray gained admission to practice law in 1872. Charlotte E. Ray, at the time, was not the first woman attorney in the United States, but she was said to be the first African American woman to practice law. Ray followed her dream to practice law even though she knew that few women and people of color had access to a university education and many colleges with law schools forbade women from entering. Ray was a fighter; she was persistent, and she never gave up following her dreams even though she was a woman of color with so many obstacles thrown her way.
Favorite Quote or Mantra? “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations”
– Dr. Mae Johnson, first African American female astronaut
Why do you think celebrating Black History Month is important? I believe that celebrating Black History Month is important because it is not something that can be overlooked. It is a way to remember important people and events that allowed us and helped us get to where we are today. It is a time to recognize the role that African Americans played in the United States. Knowing the past opens the door to the future.
Who inspires you? All African American men and women who have never let the obstacles, hardships, and injustices thrown their way stop them from pursuing their dreams.
If you could have a conversation with a civil rights activist, who would it be and why?
If I could have a conversation with a civil rights activist, it would be Ida B. Wells. Wells was known for her accomplishments as an advocate for civil rights, fighting against segregation, unfair practices of the law, lynching and other social injustices. Wells battled sexism, racism, and violence and even through these conditions she used her skills as a journalist to shed light on the conditions of African Americans even when it put her in danger.