In celebration of Black History Month, Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant is proud to announce the Will County Leadership Series. Throughout February, community leaders will be highlighted and sharing their thoughts on the importance of recognizing Black History.
County Executive Bertino-Tarrant would like to thank these leaders who have stepped forward to share their thoughts. The first leader to be featured is Michelle Stiff, Director of the Workforce Services Division of Will County.
1. As a local leader, why is Black History Month important to you?
Black History Month is an annual observance that honors trailblazers of our past and present. February is about honoring accomplishments of Black Americans and the historical deposits on our country’s history. We get to celebrate and reflect on the historic leaders and what they have done throughout this country. Black history is about knowing the past, to address the present, and how we should contribute to the future. As a local leader, recognizing that I am the first and only black female to be elected to the Joliet Township High School Board is an honor, that I do not take lightly.
2. Why do you think it’s important for everyone to learn about Black History?
Black History is extremely important, it’s a time dedicated to shining a light on black culture and achievements, which are too often ignored. The contributions of African Americans should be continuous and embedded into the fabric of American History. When students are taught mathematics, science, and American history, you don’t often have black people represented in the textbooks. African Americans have positively contributed their talent to every aspect of life and the value that has been made to society made America prosperous.
Another reason why Black History is important is so that history won’t repeat itself and you learn more completely about America. The contributions of blacks have been whitewashed with little to no recognition, which provides a limited view of the past. This knowledge will inform, educate, and bring an awareness to a complete America and all that have contributed.
About Michelle Stiff
With a background in education, Michelle Stiff has always been passionate about helping others improve their lives through various opportunities. She is dedicated to providing equitable opportunities for anyone to achieve meaningful outcomes. As Director of the Workforce Services Division of Will County, Stiff has been able to transfer these skills to assisting job seekers and local business owners with employment-related services, training, and education.
Before her appointment as Director, Stiff served as an educational administrator and educator, where she was afforded many leadership opportunities to promote the development of staff and students. She serves on a variety of organizations in Will County, which strengthens her ability to promote the services of the agency.