February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories as well as acknowledge the important contributions of our Black and African American communities.
This month, we interviewed a few of our team members and asked them about their experiences at Chartwells and what Black History Month means to them. Their stories and videos are below.
Byron Williams | Vice President of Operations at UChicago Dining
“My name is Byron Williams. I’m the Vice President of Operations for UChicago Dining at the University of Chicago. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio. I am really [proud] of my upbringing; my mom and dad did everything they could to make me realize that there was a bigger world outside of me.
My mother always made sure that in the summertime I was always able to go to a summer camp or have some type of experience. I got to go to space camp, and it was amazing to be around young people who were interested in learning, and for a week it felt really cool to be smart. To try and build rockets and try and understand propulsion at a very young age, and to see a world that was much bigger and that most people didn’t have exposure to. It’s just a reminder of my mom really looking to give me those opportunities to succeed in a bigger world.
I am very grateful for each of the experiences I’ve had and I’m glad that I am able to apply it here at the University of Chicago.”
Kwasi McManus | Resident District Manager for UChicago Dining
“I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. I was always taught that integrity, hard work, honesty, and perseverance were some of the key core values and pillars [that are most important.]
One of the things that I am most proud of as we talk about Black History Month is my father’s contributions to community. He is one of the co-founders of the Satchel Paige Little League and it provided young Black men across the city [the opportunity] to play baseball. In fact, in 1999 we had the opportunity to go play baseball in Cuba with the Baltimore Orioles.
One thing that I’m really proud of [is Chartwells’] impact not just on students, but the community in the Southside of Chicago. Being a neighbor to minority-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses on the Southside of Chicago, and helping create opportunities that bring economic development to some of these underserved communities is something that is near and dear to my heart.”