Honoring Black history worldwide—all year long
Airbnb’s Black employee resource group Black@ is helping our community learn about pivotal moments in Black history around the world
The Host Advisory Board’s Sam Reed also shares insights about belonging, empathy, and entrepreneurship
Each month we’re sharing the latest updates from the Host Advisory Board and helping you get to know the board members.
I’m Sam Reed, a Superhost from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a member of the Host Advisory Board. During the day, I teach high school students to read, write, and make sense of the world. And I side hustle for social good the rest of the time.
In my classroom, I don't focus on February as Black History Month exclusively, because Black history is 365 days a year—like Juneteenth, which recognizes the end of slavery in the U.S.
To honor this important event, the Host Advisory Board wanted to help our community learn more about Black liberation. Thanks to Airbnb’s Black employee resource group Black@, you can find out how Black uprisings around the world have served as a catalyst for societal change and participate in online experiences with Hosts who focus on Black history from their local community.
Participating in diversity and inclusion initiatives
The Host Advisory Board is establishing itself as an important voice in the development of new diversity and inclusion policies and product enhancements at Airbnb.
We’ve already shared feedback on Project Lighthouse and other inclusive hosting initiatives.Watching this work unfold touches me as an educator, and I’m excited about what Airbnb is developing.
Exploring life through different perspectives
This year, my humanities classes had a world history lens, but we can't divorce ourselves from issues that affect Black folks in world history.
We’ve done some interesting studies around colorism and how it impacts folks from Caribbean communities, Latin communities, African American communities, and other communities. That was a rich part of our curriculum this year.
The other cool thing we’ve explored in the past was afrofuturism. Sometimes history can focus on the trauma of folks who’ve been systematically disenfranchised. But if we just focus on the trauma, we never get to the future.
As part of the afrofuturism unit, the kids imagined things like a world with a different way of policing and Africa having re-liberation movements. That was super fun.
Accepting people for who they are
My wife is from Botswana, and I spent eight years there as a Peace Corps volunteer and entrepreneur. There's this saying in her language, “batho ke batho.” It means “people are people,” that you can be who you are because you're a person.
To me, Airbnb’s mission of belonging is about accepting people for who they are—including people who are different from you. By getting to know them, you realize you’re not so different.Being uncomfortable in Botswana was a blessing—going into a stranger's home, on a stranger's land, with strangers speaking a language you're not familiar with. Adapting to discomfort can help you expand your concept of belonging.
Building connections through empathy
Our experiences shape our ability to have empathy. Part of the reason we lack empathy is not that we don't care, it's because it's outside our life experiences.
Leaning into empathy has been super valuable and important for me through my life. And by having that empathy for others, it’s reciprocated.
Creating an experience where the guest feels some kind of connectedness comes from your personal touch, how you set up your space, as well as being welcoming. For me, part of being a welcoming Host is thinking about what would make me more comfortable as a guest and offering that.My Sunday ritual is making soup, and every guest is welcome to have it. How can somebody give you a bad review—it’s soup with love.
Empowering others through entrepreneurship
After I got my MBA, I joined the Peace Corps and eventually started a business. It prospered, then it collapsed, and I went bankrupt.
I came back to the United States from Botswana, re-engineered myself, and became an educator. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial background, so now I call myself a teacherpreneur.
My side hustle ethos is to support folks. Because of the pandemic and hosting during this time of racial unrest, I leaned into racial equity from an economic empowerment perspective a lot more. With Airbnb, I helped Hosts in my community get financial relief during COVID, like funding from the Small Business Administration.
I also developed the Side Hustle Accelerator program to help high school students and fledgling adult entrepreneurs develop and start businesses. I’m blessed, and I want to pass the blessings on.Find out more about what the Host Advisory Board has been up to, and stay tuned for monthly updates and tips from board members.
You might also like
You might also like
Explore more topics
- Get started hosting
- Your space
- Your listing
- Grow your business
- Explore more
- Professional hosting