The San Francisco 49ers Black Excellence Collection stands as a representation of what it means to be Black and excellent, both on and off the field. Black Excellence is etched into the fabric of this organization. From the players of the past and present who have left their hearts out on the field, to the Black employees who work tirelessly to pave the way for generations to come.
The Black Excellence collection was created to showcase the individuals who so often go unseen. The collection, comprised of five retail items, allows our Black employees, players, and most importantly, members of the Faithful, to feel seen and heard.
The collection is the brainchild of three Black employees. San Francisco 49ers Associate Council, Myka Bell, Sr. Director, Inclusion and Culture, Christina Jefferson, and former Coordinator, 49ers EDU, Jonathan Carroll. Myka, Christina, and Jonathan were inspired by the Latino ERG, LEAD, to create a line after the success of the Mexico collection, which was also created by one of our internal employees.
Jonathan took on the role of lead artist and designer. He drew inspiration from B.U.I.L.D. (Black Unity in Leadership Development), the Black ERG founded in 2020. B.U.I.L.D. is a space created by and for Black employees to ensure that they feel safe and uplifted at work.
Blackness can be defined in so many ways. One of which is style. For decades, Black people have used style as a form of cultural expression and liberation. At times, this style has been appropriated, which in turn, silences Black voices. This collection is in direct opposition to that. The collection amplifies Black art and represents the style and culture of the Black employees here at the 49ers as well as changemakers of the past, present, and future.
Here at the 49ers, Black employees are actively participating in creating the organization we want to be a part of. To show we are proud of our heritage. One way this was done is through the use of the Black American Heritage flag as a focal point of the collection.
The inclusion of this flag was incredibly important to the members of B.U.I.L.D. because without acknowledging those that paved the way, history can easily be forgotten.
Black American Heritage Flag:
The flag was designed in 1967 by Melvin Charles and Gleason T. Jackson. The two noticed that there was no flag to represent the Black American community and at the time, did not feel a connection to the American flag. The specific symbols on the flag are meant to invoke pride and symbolize peace, prosperity, and everlasting life.
Members of B.U.I.L.D. wear this flag as a symbol of all that it took to get to this point.
Black & Professional: B.U.I.L.D.
Oftentimes, Black employees do not feel comfortable at work. Questions surrounding professionalism, ability, and background have created inequities in the workplace. In an attempt to help rectify this, the 49ers supported the formation of B.U.I.L.D., creating a safe space for Black employees to express themselves, enact change and create a more progressive, equitable, and supportive work environment for all.
What we believe in:
- We believe in advocating for the oppressed and amplifying underrepresented voices.
- We believe in having transparent and inclusive conversations.
- We believe in challenging racism, police brutality and microaggressions.
- We believe in inclusive hiring practices and professional development.
- We BUILD to provide equitable opportunities and access for the future leaders of the Black 49ers community.