Black History Month is a time for every person, from all different backgrounds to honor and celebrate the achievements of Black and African Americans in the U.S. and their impact on world history. In honor of Black History Month, we would like to recognize some of our amazing team members who have made an impact on our company culture, embody our core values, and exude excellence. We pride ourselves on creating a safe space for everyone to be their authentic selves. Hear what Black History Month means to them!

Junior Carreira, Service Desk Technician, Boston, MA

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month to me means an opportunity for the black community to reconnect with their heritage and ancestry while celebrating how our accomplishments and heroes have impacted our ways of being today. It means legacy and continuing to add onto that legacy. It also stands as a reminder of our resilience and that our fight isn't over as long as we’re still here.

What is one thing that you feel people can do to effect positive change?

I believe that one of the biggest ways that people can make the world a better place is to recognize the humanity/life of others and to respect them for who they are.

Which film or piece of literature was most impactful or life-changing for you and why?

My high school unfortunately did not offer a lot of STEM courses, so I took a lot of arts and drama classes. I had a chance to discover a lot of literature that shaped my life today. One of those was a book called, “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement,” by Angela Davis. It’s a collection of interviews, scholarly essays, and speeches that cover several different topics that are relevant today, such as Palestine, Ferguson, BLM and mass incarceration. The biggest impact this book had on me is that I learned about how important mass movements can be to effect positive change, and this also helped me learn how to work with others both in school and in life.

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I’ve always been interested in technology, specifically when it comes to cybersecurity. I got interested in it because my cousin was in the military and then transitioned to a security engineer. I remember asking him a bunch of questions at a young age, even though I never understood anything.

What was your path to Rapid7?

Prior to Rapid7, I had the opportunity to be part of the 2020 Hack.Diversity cohort, which allowed me to develop and grow my professionalism, leadership, communication, and many other skills. Developing these skills was essential and helped me through my interview process, during my internship, and even now as I continue to grow. Overall, being part of the Hack.Diversity cohort after graduating from UMass Boston with a major in IT created a path for me to Rapid7.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month is a great time for every American to reflect on our past and present in relation to not only the plight, but also the contributions of Black Americans. While I think it is very important to remember the plight of Black people in America and the figures who pioneered  change, I also think it is equally important for every American to learn and reflect on the contributions and accomplishments made by many Black Americans. This lack of knowledge is what I believe contributes to the “us vs. them” and “my country” mentality still plaguing our nation. It logically follows that if someone doesn’t see the person next to them as a meaningful contributor to an accomplishment, they will almost always have difficulty seeing that person as a rightful beneficiary of the resulting fruits.

What is one thing that you feel people can do to effect positive change?

I think education is truly the key. Black history should not be an optional education topic. Black history is American history, but has been either siloed, or presented as little more than a textbook footnote. This must end. It would be nice to get to a point where we can also ask non-Black individuals what Black History Month means to them, where Black people are truly seen and valued for their contributions to this great nation. Many of us grow up learning about Thomas Edison’s invention of the lightbulb but learn nothing about Lewis Latimer’s 1881 invention of the actual filament that made the lightbulb a success. Learning the role that Black people played in America’s speedy rise to world power will go far in improving the way many Black people are valued and still viewed today.

Which film or piece of literature was most impactful or life-changing for you and why?

Without pause, I have to say “The Allegory of The Cave,” by Plato. As an educated woman of color coming from a severely disadvantaged background, for more reasons than the obvious, I found this reading to be very insightful. It’s a great illustration (albeit fictional) of how a person’s environment can be one of the most powerful forces in forming who they are and how they see the world. Additionally, how without additional knowledge we give others the ability to manipulate us into believing what they will and seeing things as they do. Even more, it highlights the responsibility of those who are fortunate enough to break free from the bondage of the metaphorical cave and experience the splendor that is true freedom. Tim McGraw may have put it best: “When you get where you’re going, don’t forget to turn back around and help the next one in line.”

How did you get into cybersecurity?

At a time in the industry where cybersecurity was just at its infancy, my first job after leaving college was with a global internet service provider that happened to have a security department. My first role with the company was an Internet Abuse Investigator assisting local, state and federal law enforcement in tracking down people who would utilize the Internet in the commission of a crime. The things I witnessed and accomplished during my time in this role is what really got me hooked into cybersecurity, and ultimately what put me on a path to Rapid7.

Reuben Williams, Customer Advisor, Arlington, VA

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month (BHM) is a time to reflect on the struggles, as well as celebrating the resilience and achievements, made by black people. It’s a special period where I can slow myself down and really explore the rich history of people who look like me. It’s also a time when I am humbled and appreciative toward those who blazed the trails that we all now traverse. BHM is joyful and rewarding, understanding that we are all connected, and that BHM is everyone’s history—a history that can truly have a positive impact on the lives of everyone from every race.

What is one thing that you feel people can do to effect positive change?

Building a true dialogue is what first comes to mind. I’m a firm believer that in order to effect positive change, one must be open-minded, objective, and willing enough to listen to those with opposing viewpoints, with the mindset that something can be learned and achieved in such a dialogue.

Which film or piece of literature was most impactful of life-changing for you and why?

A film that has impacted me more than I expected is “Hidden Figures.” It’s a film that represents what I believe is an overlooked segment of the population when it comes to role models in film—black women. As a father of a daughter, it was very gratifying watching this film with her where examples of strong and intelligent women exhibited their determination to not allow barriers and challenges from different directions stop them from reaching their goals. These women are true heroes on the big screen as well as in life.

Terrica Byrd, VP, Change Management, Remote, U.S.

What does Black History Month mean to you?

To me, Black History Month is an opportunity for us to collectively remember and celebrate the sacrifices, contributions, and accomplishments of an amazing and often underappreciated group within our society. As someone who shares this history, it's also a time of great pride and a call to action.

What is one thing that you feel people can do to effect positive change?

I think the one thing people can do to effect positive change is to embody empathy, personally and professionally. Empathy removes artificial barriers and encourages the desire to understand and meet the needs of others. I can't think of anything more impactful.

How did you get into cybersecurity?

I had a very specific set of criteria that primarily focused on cultural fit, relevance, and a shared philosophy on organizational change. For me, relevance meant aligning with a global, technology-focused company. I wasn't sure this really existed, but Rapid7 checked all of the boxes. The fact that it's cybersecurity is icing on the cake! I feel very fortunate to do the work that I love for a company that I believe in and an industry that has no limits.

Interested in learning more about our culture and commitment to driving change? Check out the progress we’ve made on diversity, equity and inclusion.