Black Alliance Employee Resource Group (BERG)


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June 2023

About Us

Founded in 2021 by Dr. Jayco McGowan and Vickie Jones


The Black Employee Resource Group, better known as BERG, exists to cultivate an environment that promotes equity and inclusiveness through professional mobility, cultural responsibility, networking, education, and programs highlighting cultural awareness, diversity, unconscious bias, and global thinking.


BERG’S Vision is to provide a safe space and professional resources for underrepresented individuals affected by systemic racism, discrimination, and inequalities and to encourage solidarity amongst all staff, faculty, and students.


BERG hosts events both off and on campus to encourage dialogue amongst Black individuals and allies while uplifting spirits and promoting awareness. 

Want to Join?

You may also contact us at for more information about the group and to get added to our email list!

Complete a membership application today!

Membership Application

Leadership Committee

Advisory Board Members

Steven J. Baines 

Valrie Brown

E. Earl Butler

Creshonda Collins

Tammie Collins

Lorraine Hunter-Simpson

Vickie Jones (Founder)

Soshe Mayes

Dr. Jayco McCowan (Founder)

Dr. Cindy West

Meisha Wilson-Leonard


Richard M. Walker, MHA (Chair)

Tomiko I. Fisher, MBA (Chair-Elect)

Executive Co-Sponsors

Dr. David Brown

Dr. Kendall Campbell

Communications & Social Media Committee Members:

Website: Michelle Conley

Social Media: Kyle Beede

Newsletter Contributors: Tomiko Fisher & Makia Golliday

Newsletter editor: Michelle Conley

Other Committees:


If you are interested in chairing or becoming a member of a committee, email

TOP: Juneteenth Movie Night - 2022

BOTTOM: Old Central High School - 2022


The Black Employee Resource Group (BERG)

invites you to a

Juneteenth Celebration & Luncheon

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

12:00 p.m.

Health Education Center, Room 1.200

A luncheon celebration with music and poetry

Keynote Speaker:

Honorable Stephen D. Holmes, Galveston County Commissioner

Download Invitation

African Americans and allies across the State of Texas grandly celebrate Juneteenth. 2022 marked the first year Juneteenth was recognized as a national holiday, with many African Americans celebrating for the first time. BERG commemorated our holiday by honoring our past and being hopeful for our future as a people. We kicked off Juneteenth with a tour of Old Central High School (Old Central Cultural Center) on June 8th at 2627 Ave M, Galveston, Texas. Old Central High School is the first Black high school in Texas. The Center has been home to the Annual Galveston Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant for many years. 

BERG held UTMB’s 1st Annual Juneteenth Luncheon on June 15th in Levin Hall. Renowned Juneteenth Expert Sam Collins was our keynote speaker. Mr. Collins provided a thorough oration of the history and importance of Juneteenth. Having Mr. Collins in our midst was important because we are the authors of our own stories, so we should tell them.

Our final celebration was showing the 2020 drama “Miss Juneteenth'' directed by Channing Godfrey Peoples and starring Nicole Beharie in the Health Education Center. BERG members and allies could share their experiences compared to the movie. Our very own Communications Committee member Makia Golliday was the 2017 1st Runner-Up and Miss Congeniality in the Galveston Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant. There was an engaging dialogue and realization that Juneteenth means something special to many people in different ways. We look forward to the story of Juneteenth continuing to capture the hearts of the community. 

The Juneteenth mural is located at the site of the issuance of General Order No. 3, which demanded “absolute equality” between enslaved Texans and former slave owners after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Central High School is the first black high school in the State of Texas. It was originally operated in rented quarters at the corner of 16th Street and Avenue L beginning in 1885. In 1893, famed architect Nicholas Clayton designed a two-story brick structure with six classrooms as the third location of Central High School. 

Click to read more.

Pride Month 2023: Origins, Parades & Dates | HISTORY

Pride Month is an annual celebration of the many contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community to history, society and cultures worldwide. In most places, Pride is celebrated throughout the month of June each year in commemoration of its roots in the Stonewall Riots of June 1969.

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Call for Campus Ambassadors

BERG has openings for Campus Ambassadors at the following locations: 

  • Angleton Danbury Campus (ADC)
  • League City Campus (LCC)
  • Clear Lake Campus (CLC)


  • Gather feedback
  • Promote BERG participation
  • Disseminate information about BERG activities and share it with BERG Advisory Board

We need you as member advocates!

Earth Day 2023

BERG celebrated Earth Day by participating in UTMB’s annual event. Since April 22, 1970, Earth Day has been acknowledged to raise awareness of protecting and preserving Earth’s natural resources for the future.

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by BERG’s table and get your okra seeds or haven’t planted your seeds yet, look at these pictures of okra seeds planted last year for inspiration.

BERG members also had fun while handing out okra recipes!

Homegrown Okra

Photo Sent by

BERG Advisory Board Member

Earl Butler

Be sure to post your okra plants and dish on our Facebook page.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” MLK is remembered and respected by many for the non-violent initiatives he led and, most notably, his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. 55 years ago, non-violent change advocate Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, TN, and many hearts were shattered. Dr. King’s dream did not end on that day but only continued to thrive in the lives of those who came after him.

Since 1986 every 3rd Monday in January, the country celebrates the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day BERG has held its annual MLK luncheon on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, in the Health Education Center. West Point Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Kerry W. Tillmon was our keynote speaker. Pastor Tillmon provided an uplifting message emphasizing the importance of “It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset “. In addition, Lindsey White, Executive Director of United Way of Galveston, encouraged the room to give back to the community. Fanfare! Lutheran Music Academy, under the direction of June Collins-Pulliam, wowed audiences with their powerful voices singing songs of freedom. We will continue to keep the dream alive

“We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation’s greatness.” – Yvette Clarke. Black History Month is our way to celebrate the rich history of African American and Black people. Many of our achievements fail to receive the recognition they deserve, so during the month of February, we honor our ancestors, changemakers, and trailblazers.

We don’t have to wait until February to celebrate. We honor each other every day! Daily around the globe, we turn our tragedies into triumphs. BERG celebrated Black History Month with displays entitled “Know Your History,” honoring notable figures. The displays toured the various UTMB campuses and clinics throughout February. We are Black History personified when we cultivate change for others in the workplace. We are our ancestors' wildest dreams. We are excited for next year so that our initiatives can grow. 

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at UTMB Health

UTMB Leadership recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion and provides a platform for faculty and staff with common interests or purposes to participate in activities and interact socially. Our workforce can learn and influence change in our institution and respective communities through participation in the Institutional Diversity and Inclusion Council, Employee Resource Groups, Celebration and Recognition Events, Affinity Groups, Training, and more.

Diversity at UTMB