March 15, 2024

Black History Month 2024: Celebrating and Honoring Black Stories at Jam City

Blog, Jam City

Last month, Jam Citizens observed Black History Month by celebrating and sharing Black Stories. 

At Jam City HQ, we honored the African Diaspora by recognizing the diverse backgrounds and cultures of our black employees. This standing, meaningful tradition is intended to honor our employees’ heritage and diverse cultural backgrounds by showcasing flags that represent Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Caledonian, French Polynesia, Brazil, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Haiti, Belize, and the Black Liberation African American Flag. Our goal is to foster a welcoming and supportive environment where all employees feel seen, valued, and celebrated. We also shared Black Stories, starting with Rito Joseph.

Rito Joseph, Storyteller

As our Black History Month speaker, Rito Joseph shared a detailed history and stories of the Afro-Descent in Montreal guiding us through the black history of New France and how the city evolved into modern Quebec, Montreal. We learned:

  • In 1604, Mathieu da Costa was the first black descendant to be registered on record in Canada, and a free man.
  • In 1628, Olivier Le Juene was the first black descendant to live in Canada permanently, and he was also the first enslaved person to be on record in Canada. 
  • Charlotte Trim spearheaded the push for an Abolitionist movement to start in Montreal in 1798.
  • On August 1, 1834, slavery was abolished in Canada, The Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.
  • Alexander Grant was the first black person to take someone to court and win the case. He is the first black activist in the city of Montreal. 
  • The Colored Women’s Club, the first women’s organization in the history of Canada, started in 1902. Still in existence today, it is the longest-running female organization in the history of Canada, celebrating 122 years in 2024.

Speakers Panel

In a panel discussion led by our Black Employees, each shared their personal development stories and tips on how to excel on a chosen career path. Our diverse group featured Jam Citizens from a variety of roles across the company and included teammates Michael Raeford, 

Director, Player Experience; Joram Clervius, Principal Platform Engineer; and Chris Burris, Senior UI/UX Designer.

On career success:

Chris Burris had his first win early in his career. He started his career as a technical artist and was lucky enough to get an internship at Disney. While at Disney, he expressed to managers his interest in UX/UI, and based on his work, he was moved under a Senior UX/UI designer and assisted on a project called Disney Mix. After his successful internship ended, he was hired on as a UX/UI designer. Chris shares that his mindset on success is to “never stop being a student of your craft, you need to constantly be learning, constantly evolving your skills.” 

Another piece of advice shared by Michael Raeford, Director, Player Experience at Jam City, is to “Choose a career that motivates and guides you to find your passion.”

On the future of the gaming industry:

Regarding the future of the industry, Michael says “I don’t think we’re gonna get anything like groundbreaking new game technology. I think we’re gonna be in a period of optimization and sort of taking current industries and just leveling them up, I know VR is in the mix.”

He adds: “AI is evolving the way it is, and will continue to do so over the next 2 to 3 years. I think companies can collect and optimize and use the data.”


When Joram Clervius first started at Jam City he didn’t come from a gaming background. He did not play video games and felt that coming to work at a gaming company was initially challenging for him. Joram uses his favorite superpower to succeed in his role: self-awareness. “ I definitely pay a lot of attention to how I talk to myself, how I think, and how the conversations go in my head.”  

By Missy Vernier