Explore Charleston, the Lowcountry’s top destination management and marketing organization, introduced the inaugural class of its new Intern Cultural Enrichment Program (ICEP) on May 25, 2021. This initiative connects underrepresented minority students, many from historically-black colleges and universities (HBCUs), with world-class internship opportunities in the local travel and hospitality industry. ICEP is a ten-week leadership development program that complements the students’ paid internships. Participants engage in a weekly curriculum that introduces information about the local community and culture, fosters interaction with business and civic leaders, and cultivates peer relationships. The ICEP was established to prepare the students to hold hospitality leadership roles in the future, so many are shadowing general managers and rotating through several properties and multiple departments throughout the summer. The concept for this program came from Explore Charleston’s “Heart for Hospitality” initiative. Launched in 2019, “Heart for Hospitality” is a living story that invites Charleston’s large and diverse community to advance the Lowcountry with raised awareness and action for inclusion. Thirteen students from six universities were accepted into ICEP, including Benedict College, Morgan State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Virginia State University. Other non-HBCU schools include Johnson and Wales (Charlotte, NC) and University of South Carolina. Internship partners include Belmond Charleston Place, Charleston County Aviation Authority, Charlestowne Hotels, Hotel Bennett, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Lowcountry Hotels and Wild Dunes Resort. There was no cost to the students for participation in ICEP and Explore Charleston is covering all summer housing costs.
By Lisa Skriloff, Editor, Multicultural Travel News
On the weekend that Juneteenth National Independence Day, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, was officially recognized as a Federal Holiday, we were touring Newport RI, with its own paradoxical history of the “co-existence of religious freedom with the poison of racism.” So quoted our guide at Touro Synagogue, (the oldest synagogue in the country,) whose informative talk started with the history of how the Newport Jews came to settle in the seaport, starting from Spain to Recife, Brazil, to New Amsterdam (New York City) where they “received no warm welcome from Peter Stuyvesant.” The descendants of these Conversos, who fled the inquisitions in Spain and Portugal, founded the Congregation in Newport in the late 1600s. Following his visit here, George Washington, in his 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, pledged that the new nation would give “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Yet at the same time, the “trade and export activities…that were the main engines of economic growth during the 18th century, (were) inexorably linked to Newport’s participation in the slave trade and widespread ownership of slaves by families throughout the city” as we learned at our visit to the Museum of Newport History. Today’s Newport is more human rights forward. During this same visit, Newport was celebrating June is LGBTQ Pride Month, and, with organizations such as Newport Out welcomes the community all year long. We also learned about Newport’s “Sail To Prevail – The National Disabled Sailing Program,” the first sailing program for individuals with disabilities in the United States.Continue reading
Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced Karrah A. Herring as Indiana’s first-ever chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer. Herring started her new role on Feb. 1, 2021. In addition to naming Herring, the governor also announced that the CenterPoint Energy Foundation is supporting the state’s diversity and inclusion programs and services. Herring previously served as the director of public affairs for the University of Notre Dame, where she worked since 2011. From 2014 until 2018, she served on Notre Dame’s Human Resource’s Senior Leadership Team as director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX coordinator. In this role, Herring provided oversight and support of the university’s efforts to comply with federal and state civil rights laws related to policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Herring created Notre Dame’s affirmative action plans, had oversight of employee disability compliance for the campus, and oversaw workplace investigations falling under Title VII and Title IX. Herring earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue University and her law degree from Valparaiso University. Gov. Holcomb announced the creation of the chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer during his August address to the state. The officer focuses on improving state government operations as well as drive systemic change to remove hurdles in the government workplace and services the state provides. Herring helps agencies develop strategic plans to remove any barriers. As a member of the governor’s cabinet, Herring reports directly to the governor. Through its charitable foundation, CenterPoint Energy has been in discussions with the state since the announcement of the position in August to help understand how they may partner with the state of Indiana to enhance diversity and inclusion programs. The CenterPoint Energy Foundation, through its strategic giving areas, supports programs that serve under-resourced populations to help communities thrive.
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and the Indiana Destination Development Corporation announced the development of the Heritage Trail plan. In partnership with the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, the Heritage Trail aims to tell comprehensive stories inclusive of all backgrounds with a concentration on sharing typically underrepresented heritage. Heritage trails are recreational and educational walking, biking and driving routes that provide opportunities to explore and experience regional histories. Heritage trails come in many forms, with many using a combination of informational exhibits, staffed demonstration sites and a wide range of digital and interactive media to help us learn about our past while shaping our future. By combining exciting physical sites and cutting-edge digital components, the Indiana Heritage Trail will provide a valuable opportunity to showcase the state’s commitment to learning and innovation for all communities. Through the development of the Heritage Trail plan, project coordinators will research best practices for heritage-related trails across the U.S., conduct an analysis of historic and significant sites in the state of Indiana, gather public input, identify and map potential trail themes and form a planning committee to bring the project to fruition. Project planners will explore potential trail themes including Black history, Native American history, European immigration patterns, industrial and environmental impacts and arts and culture heritage. The final plan for the Heritage Trail is expected to be completed by June 30, 2022. Currently, IU CRE, OCRA and IDDC are working to identify and conduct outreach to key stakeholders, and plan to develop maps and themes for the Heritage Trail plan by January of 2022. To share ideas for sites, stories, and events that could be included in the Heritage Trail, visit bit.ly/HeritageTrailIN.
INDIANAPOLIS –The Eiteljorg Museum’s 29th annual Indian Market and Festival this year will be a virtual experience, where guests can shop online for beautiful jewelry, pottery, paintings and other artworks created by 100 Native American and First Nations artists from the U.S. and Canada. Running from June 14 to 28, the Virtual Indian Market features music, dance performances and cultural presentations, including Grammy Award-winning musician Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida). This year’s event is entirely free. Eiteljorg.org/IndianMarketandFestival is the online hub to shop for Native artworks directly from the artists, enjoy the performances, download family activities and learn more about Native artists and their cultures. First held in 1993, the Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival has a national reputation as one of the nation’s top Native art markets. Artists are invited to participate through a juried selection and must be members of a federally or state recognized tribe. “The Eiteljorg Virtual Indian Market presents an outstanding opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind, hand-made fine art – conveniently, from the comfort of home – while supporting Native American artists in their artistic careers,” Eiteljorg President and CEO John Vanausdall said. “Cultural experiences, including Native American music and dance performances and storytelling, are important parts of Virtual Indian Market.” Fans can find a complete schedule and watch all the free performances at Eiteljorg.org/IndianMarketandFestival.
MMGY Global announced it will conduct a first-of-its-kind study to identify the needs, concerns and behaviors of Latinx travelers in the United States in order to provide a better understanding of this growing population and the diverse needs of its communities. The study, titled Latinx U.S. Travelers: Observations and Insights on Themes of Diaspora and Intersectionality, marks the company’s second in-depth research program focused on underrepresented travelers in support of the company’s focus on inclusivity as a core value. These research efforts are conducted also to support MMGY Global’s own clients with useful data on evolving demographics and shifting cultural sentiment in the United States and across the globe. This study is the second in a series of custom research reports deployed by MMGY Global’s research and insights division, MMGY Travel Intelligence. The first, The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities, was completed in January 2021 and communicated the value of Black travelers in the U.S. who spend over $129 billion in travel annually while revealing narratives around lack of feeling safe or welcomed and also a strong intent to travel among Black leisure travelers and meeting professionals. Over US$100,000 has been raised for the nonprofit partners involved with the study, and two grant programs have been established to support Black travel advocates.Continue reading
Tourism Cares remains committed to create an inclusive industry with the first Diversity in Tourism grantee being the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, which powers the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative (BTT). The grant will support BTT’s Black Talent Tourism Directory (BTTD). The Black Talent Tourism Directory is an online platform created as a matchmaking tool for Black travel and tourism businesses, professionals and students to access business, employment, internship, speaker and media opportunities in travel and tourism. Through BTTD, a series of professional development webinars will be offered to help prepare Blacks in travel and tourism to take full advantage of industry opportunities. Industry stakeholders such as DMOs, travel associations, brands and media can join BTTD as industry partners and post opportunities to match with Black talent. Industry partner’s membership also support the maintenance and sustainability of the platform as an industry resource.Continue reading
The National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative (BTT) working in partnership with the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), a Black-owned receptive tour operator based in Miami, FL, is launching the Black Cultural Heritage Road Trip on May 30. The Black Cultural Heritage Tours (BCHT) team will travel throughout the United States curating local, immersive Black cultural heritage tour itineraries and experiences through connections with the people and places that have shaped Black communities from the past to the present. “As the only Black-owned receptive tour operator in the U.S., our mission is to create inclusion and engagement of local Black cultural heritage community assets in the multibillion-dollar tourism industry, spurring economic growth and sustainability for small businesses and cultural institutions in underserved Black communities,” said Stephanie Jones, president of CHAT and founder of BTT. The BCHT itineraries aim to illuminate, amplify, protect, and preserve cultural heritage throughout the United States through storytelling and authentic local experiences that are life-affirming and sustainable.Continue reading
From annual events to amazing entertainment, Las Vegas proudly celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and empowers travelers to embrace who they are year-round. Featuring a wide variety of LGBTQ+-driven entertainment, dining, nightlife and special events, Las Vegas is the ultimate, inclusive escape for anyone and everyone for any occasion. The Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada, a non-profit advocacy group that aims to expand the economic opportunities and advancement of the LGBTQ+ business community will host its summer virtual mixer Wednesday, June 16 from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Celebrating gay men of all shapes and sizes, who are also cigar and pipe aficionados, bikers or leathermen, SMOKEOUT 2021 will be on fire at Tuscany Suites and Casino, August 25-30. From bull riding to cattle roping, the rodeo thrives in Vegas. September 17−19, the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association’s BigHorn Rodeo will once again ride into Las Vegas, bringing with it all the typical rodeo favorites and camp events. The biggest LGBTQ+ event of the year, Las Vegas PRIDE, is expected to return live October 8 and 9. Completely centered around pride and diversity, the parade through Downtown Las Vegas on October 8 and the festival on October 9 will be bigger and more fabulous after the at-home virtual celebration in 2020. Gold Spike in Downtown Las Vegas announced the comeback of the queens. Every second and fourth Thursday of the month, the “girls” are back in town as Drag Queen Bingo makes its debut at Gold Spike.
United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, began accepting applications as it embarks on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry. In addition, for those United Aviate Academy students who may need additional financing, United has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans to ensure that no highly-qualified, highly-motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll. United Aviate Academy expects to enroll 100 students in 2021. To break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations of women and people of color, United has committed to fund $1.2 million in scholarships. The airline’s credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase has also committed $1.2 million to support women and people of color who are accepted to United Aviate Academy. United will leverage its long-standing relationships with a variety of organizations, including the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association to help identify and steer highly qualified, diverse candidates to the United Aviate Academy. As key partners, these organizations will select the applicants to receive the scholarships and grants funded by United and JPMorgan Chase. For more information on Aviate, visit unitedaviate.com.