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Collection: OMES employees submit stories of Black culture

Friday, March 12, 2021

Recognizing Black History Month, the OMES Organizational and Employee Development Partners invited employees to share positive personal stories, symbols and resources of Black culture to positively represent our community of employees.

Submissions included anecdotes about Black-owned restaurants, museums, influential people and even a poem by Black poet Amanda Gorman, the youngest person to speak at a presidential inaguration.

"Repesentation matters," OMES Director of Internal Training Sophie Preston said. "Listening to employees, we heard how hard 2020 was between the crisis of a global pandemic, the sudden transition to a virtual workforce and national civil unrest. As our internal training team, OEDP has a platform to create space for OMES employees to connect, participate in educational conversations and lean on each other outside of the daily grind.”

View this collection below. Thank you to everyone who participated!

1. Carican Flavors and Joyce Jackson

"My favorite restaurant is Carican Flavors, located at 2701 N. Martin Luther King Ave. in Oklahoma City. Pretty much, my go-to meal consists of jerk chicken, macaroni and cheese (second-best macaroni and cheese I ever ate), and one more side. The Carican is a Jamaican restaurant and offers many selections.

"Joyce Jackson took to me to lunch at the Carican the first time I ate there. I had asked her to tell her story. Joyce was the first Black female news commentator in Oklahoma. She also went to Dunbar school, and Clara Luper was her teacher. She was present at the Katz Drug Store with Clara Luper during the sit-in. Joyce shared much more of her story, and man, does she have a story!

"Go to the Carican and grab a takeout meal for lunch; wear your mask. Due to COVID, they are open for takeout meals only."

– Patti Ormerod, OMES Human Capital Management

2. Oklahoma Black Museum & Performing Arts Center


The Oklahoma Black Museum & Performing Arts Center celebrates African American culture and art with contemporary work by local artists. Established in 2008, the museum rotates exhibits roughly every month and features different mediums of art including photography, painting, sculpture and more. New and exciting exhibits are always on display, but the museum is also home to permanent collections by Earl Davis and Tariq Shabazz, both Oklahomans.

While the art is predominately by and about African Americans, the museum celebrates diversity in many cultures during several fun, educational events throughout the year. The Oklahoma Black Museum & Performing Arts Center is a friendly and welcoming place of artistic expression and community in the Oklahoma City area.

"Spaces like this are really important for our culture. Check it out, take your friends, take your children and enjoy the events they put on throughout the year."

– OEDP team, OMES Human Capital Management

3. Meeting Apollo Woods

"I met Apollo at a mutual friend's birthday dinner celebration. At the time, we briefly chatted about his interests and his passion for the Oklahoma Black Community with emphasis on food and culture. Fast forward, I have watched his passion and love develop into an amazing outlet and resource for Black-owned restaurants. The OKC Black Eats has created an entire vibe for the Oklahoma Black Community, as well as Black-owned restaurants."

– Brandi Jeffries, OMES Employees Group Insurance Division

4. Poem by Amanda Gorman

"I implore the employees of OMES to take a moment in your busy day and read the words that were spoken by the talented Amanda Gorman. Let us not forget this moment and these words and allow it to inspire and drive us fervently into tomorrow."

– Anonymous OMES employee

Accessible version of Gorman's poem, "The Hill We Climb."

Last Modified on Aug 18, 2021