Celebrating Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, we have been celebrating not only those who have so greatly influenced the past, but also those who are shaping the future. As part of those efforts this month, Uber helped mentor a team at a My Brother’s Keeper Hackathon, a 3-day hackathon in Oakland for kids as young as age 7. That group won the event with their design of an innovative app called MyStudyBuddy.
We were also pleased to sponsor a networking event of diverse professionals along with LinkedIn, Salesforce, McKesson and others. In concert with the event, Uber made a donation to College Track, a non-profit that aims to help students from underserved communities graduate from college. All ticket sales for the event also benefited College Track.
Throughout the month, we also visited with some of our driver partners and listened as they told us their histories. These extraordinary African-American men and women are transforming the way people move throughout our cities, providing safe and reliable rides across the country. Join us as we celebrate their stories.
JOIN US AS WE CELEBRATE THEIR STORIES
Click the image below to read these eight inspiring partner stories.
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Good barbeque, quality time with family, and the occasional fishing trip: that’s all it takes to please Mervin Anderson, a New Orleans native. Growing up in the cajun capital, Mervin has always prioritized celebrating the people and happenings of life. Whether it is watching Sunday football while throwing creole food on the grill, or bringing the family together to watch the fun of Mardi Gras unfold, Mervin knows how to have a good time, New Orleans-style. Carrying the “Laissez les bon temps roulez” phrase with him in both his personal and professional life, Mervin is dedicated to making sure his riders are enjoying their rides with him. “My first night on Uber was the night Uber launched in New Orleans. Since then, I have not had a dull moment. All my trips are memorable, and I learn something new every day. If someone is having a bad day, I try to turn that frown upside down. I try to just help lift people’s spirits, if I can.” Mervin is dedicated to providing a good life for his wife and four children down in the Bayou — something he never thought he could do by simply driving with Uber. “Being an African American male, good earning opportunities are difficult to find. I don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck anymore, and it’s wonderful.”
Education has always been a cornerstone for Dallas partner Monica Lewis. Growing up in Virginia, Monica knew working hard in school would be her ticket to the life she wanted. After receiving an undergraduate degree in education from Newport University, Monica continued to pursue her pedagogical expertise by earning Masters and Doctoral degrees in the educational field as well.Now, as the founder of an online private school in Texas, Monica supplements her busy teaching career by partnering with Uber. She was originally attracted to Uber because of the diversity of rider and partner interactions she expected to have, and her expectations have been met. “One of my favorite parts of driving with Uber is building great relationships with riders, but I also love getting together with other Uber partners – sharing stories and building the community.” For this educator, the learning continues.
When Lee isn’t behind the wheel, you can bet he is at one of the nation’s top sporting events or colleges teaching young adults the ins and outs of his first love: wrestling.When he was just 21, Lee became the youngest person to ever earn the title of World Wrestling Champion. Over the course of his career, he would go on to win two more World Championships, as well as dozens of other awards.Facing countless opponents throughout his career, but no opponent quite stood out as much as the first time Lee stepped on the mats to go toe-to-toe with Dan Gables, the Babe Ruth of wrestling. When Lee first started wrestling in high school, he was inspired for greatness by watching Dan Gables and after just four years of studying and admiring his technique, the two faced off. Lee came out victorious as just a sophomore in college, beating one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time.Given his strong commitment to mentoring men and women in the sport of wrestling, Lee’s schedule — and availability — is constantly changing. Per his son’s advice, Lee researched the ridesharing industry and decided to partner with Uber just as his son does. “Because I have three other jobs, it’s difficult to find something that fits my busy schedule. Unlike the other options, Uber works for me. Since I became an Uber partner, I have to be able to fully focus on my passions: coaching wrestling, public speaking, and running my company. Uber has positively impacted my life and the lives of many Chicagoans.”
For Edith, a partner in Atlanta, and former Sixth Star award winner at Uber, her connections to the state of Georgia run deep. Not only was she born and raised in the heart of Atlanta, but her parents were, too. In fact, they attended the same elementary school as Edith and her siblings, just 30 years earlier. Although Atlanta is undoubtedly home, Edith is most certainly a global citizen. Edith’s favorite travel destinations include Nairobi, Kenya and Milan, Italy. Before partnering with Uber, Edith spent 25 years traveling around the globe as an employee of a major airline. While employed, she received some of the highest awards of customer service possible.Now that Edith is retired, she considers her role as a mother, grandmother and church member her full-time jobs. Two nights a week, she watches one of her grandsons and can be caught flying to Chicago to help her other son run his church. Thanks to the extra income Edith has earned while partnering with Uber, she is able to do these things.
In 2008, Kindred began talking to San Francisco’s inner-city teens, encouraging them to make positive decisions in life. Ever since his first conversation with local kids, he’s been hooked on giving back and making an impact in his community.While he spends more than 40 hours per week on the Uber app as a partner, he proudly considers it his second job. His mentorship comes first. Instead of talking to teens about right and wrong decisions, Kindred focuses on helping teens understand how their decisions today will impact the rest of their lives.”I get paid to hang out in San Francisco. I enjoy helping people and Uber provides me the chance to do that. Having the opportunity to help people feels great. In addition, it’s amazing hearing how appreciative people are when they don’t have to use other transportation options within the city,” said Kindred. “A large reason why ridesharing is successful is due to all the negative experiences that come with other transportation options. I love being able to provide an alternative option to consumer.”
For Peninah Njeri, a partner in San Francisco, CA, education has always been her first priority. Growing up in the small village of Kagah in Kenya, her access to education was limited. But with her parents encouragement and her own love for reading as her motivation, Peninah moved to the United States and became the first of her sisters to obtain a high school degree.Not only that, but she attended San Jose State University and received a health science degree.Though she has only been driving on the Uber platform for a few weeks, Peninah has big plans for the money she makes as a partner. Over the course of the next few weeks, she will be using her earnings as a driver to ship second-hand books from Bay area high schools to students in the village where she grew up. “I needed an extra thing to do so I could raise funds to ship the books, and Uber is a perfect fit, because I can drive whenever I want,” she said.Eventually, Peninah hopes that the students she sends books to will become advocates for their own education. “I’m going to be talking to the community and the students to find out what they really need in terms of education, like what types of books they want, not just how many. I don’t want to just drop the books and then leave. I want to do more,” she said.
If you mention the Johnson family name in Chicago, don’t be surprised if people associate it with a long pedigree of successful African-American business owners. PreDennis’ great-great grandfather purchased his freedom and more than 100 acres of land in Arkansas to start a timber farm that built the foundation for the legacy of Johnson business men and women to come. Following in the footsteps of his father and uncles, PreDennis worked for more than 20 years in the family-owned construction company. Long before Uber, PreDennis and his family were shaping the way people move around one of America’s largest cities by literally building some of Chicago’s biggest freeways and roads, block by block.Like his father, uncles, and aunts, Predennis worked for more than 20 years in the family-owned construction company. While working the family business, PreDennis put himself through eight years of night school to obtain his Bachelor of Accounting. Both of PreDennis’ sons followed suit, pursuing careers in accounting as well.Like the rest of his family, PreDennis knew from a young age that he wanted to become an entrepreneur, so partnering with Uber was a natural fit. “Uber gives me the freedom to help/service people whenever I want which I enjoy. Uber gives me the ability to the pursue my dreams. Uber is just me.”
As the proud mother of two daughters under the age of five, Baltimore partner Amber Riley needed a flexible way to support her family while ensuring her girls received the attention they deserved. After working in retail and then in photography, the Little Rock, AR native partnered with Uber in September 2014 and hasn’t looked back since. “Through driving with Uber, I’ve loved learning how Baltimore’s energy ebbs and flows, and I feel more connected to the city than I ever have before,” she said.Partnering with Uber isn’t the only way Amber connects with her city. She also loves biking around Baltimore with her family, and her passion for dance is already shining in her daughters as well. “Uber came at a great time for my family, and we hope it continues growing into the future.”
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