1982: The calendar story begins
In the early 1980s, African American history was largely absent from most schools. But a group of minority Aetna agents, led by Aetna Board member and legendary athlete, Arthur Ashe, set out to change that with the publication of the first African American History Calendar.
It began as a small initiative, reaching only a few African American neighborhoods, and historically black colleges and universities. Yet over its 35-year history, the calendar blossomed into an award-winning annual communication; and was embraced as an educational tool in schools, libraries, and homes across the nation.
A shared mission
In many ways, the goal of both the Breaking Barriers book and the original calendars is the same as the Aetna mission: to empower people to live healthier lives. By sharing the stories of notable visionaries and grassroots change-makers, prominent activists and community defenders, Breaking Barriers proves that with support and passion comes transformation.
A future of action
As we look back it's easy to be inspired by the honorees who have broken new ground. For us, this inspiration is a powerful call-to-action to push forward, to continue the momentum of our predecessors and humbly make our mark – in our own positive way.
It is an exciting time to reflect on the rich history and culture of the African American people. By sharing the stories of these notable visionaries and grassroots change-makers, prominent activists and community defenders, Breaking Barriers will prove that with support and passion comes transformation. Continuing to showcase these influencers here is how we will honor their legacy and the cultural progress they helped to achieve. It will also be a platform to continue to share your stories — stories that build upon the African American cultural change, today and tomorrow.
We hope you will see this site as a powerful indicator of what it means to be part of the Aetna family. Our hope is that the stories told within Breaking Barriers will continue to ignite and drive positive change in all of us while we remain a tireless champion of community and diversity.
Floyd W. Green, III, Vice President