Throughout Black History Month, CTI has been publishing profile features of local Black leaders to celebrate #LowellBlackExcellence. Check back regularly throughout the year as we continue to honor leaders by learning about their experiences, perspectives, and the wisdom they share in our local, national and international communities.
Carl W. Howell
Nominated by Community Teamwork, Inc.
What is your title/role/organization and/or involvement in the community?
- CPO at Community Teamwork and Advocate
What does Black History Month Mean to you?
- Black History Month to me is both humbling and upsetting. This month traditionally recognizes and honors Black Excellence and it is humbling learning about the people that helped shape this country. However, Black History is American History and I find myself exasperated by the tokenism that occurs during the month. Our impact on American history ought to be promoted throughout the year and not just a 28-day period of time. The African-American is a community that had their culture and origins erased. At times, Black History Month reminds me of that as well as how our contributions over the last 400 years continue to be diminished and concealed.
What can the community do more of to recognize Black History during the year?
- Communities can make a concerted effort to address their curriculum in their educational institutions to bring awareness to Black History that is beyond slavery but makes our youth and college students aware of our country’s real history- the good and the ugly. I also feel communities should make more intentional efforts to identify Black figures to honor and promote- both historical and current. Its important to recognize the Martins and Malcolms in our history but it is just as impactful to identify the history and community leaders from the community.
What has been the most rewarding part of your commitment to the community?
- The most rewarding aspects is experiencing changes in the community that was caused by our commitment and resilience. Changes that are systemic may not have an immediate impact but overtime it has the ability to impact generations.
What advice would you give to future generations of leaders in the community?
- Find what you are passionate about and fuel that passion. Whatever it is that you are doing, find people that lift you up and help you grow and stay away from those that don’t. Lastly, leaders are life long learners, you can never know enough and you can change your perspective through listening more and talking less.
How did you become inspired to make a difference in your community?
- As a young person, I benefited from some adults who cared enough to set an example for me. From a young age I witnessed the impact that small gestures and advocacy can do for people who are disadvantaged. Since I was a teenager, I have been motivated to help others and improve my community.
What advice would you give to young people looking to make a positive influence in their community?
- For the next generation, your lived experience is your power. Us old-heads will try to dismiss your naivety and lack of experience but don’t listen and keep speaking from your truth. It is always the young people that influence the greatest changes- show-up and show-out!
What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome to become a leader in your community?
- The most difficult obstacles I’ve had to overcome would fall under two topics. The first, is overcoming my own insecurities. Imposter syndrome is a negative mindset that at times can be challenging to overcome and is a constant obstacle to overcome. The second, is navigating the negativity that comes with challenging the status quo. I’ve learned when you begin experiencing antagonism from those that are benefitting from the status quo, you are talking about the heart of the issue. This doesn’t make it easier but helps me find comfort in the opposition.
#LowellBlackExcellence #CommunityLeader #Leadership #Appreciation #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackLivesMatter #grateful #DEIatCTI