By James Collins | Chicago-based Author & Editor
February is Black History Month, a time when we recognize and celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of Black people.
Perhaps the most important contribution Black people have made, especially in the United States, has been to act as a catalyst in the ongoing struggle for racial equality for all people. Unfortunately, racial and other forms of discrimination still exist at work as well as outside of the workplace.
Since February comes at the start of a new year, Black History Month provides an excellent opportunity for companies to examine their diversity and inclusion policies concerning the hiring, retention, and promotion of Black employees.
As you consider your company culture and inclusion efforts, remember the importance of the concepts “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion.” The United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Does your corporate culture display that same level of workplace diversity?
Just as the Black struggle for justice and equality sparked efforts to bring racial justice and equality to all people, let celebrating Black History Month be a catalyst for honoring, and supporting the efforts of the Black community, throughout the entire year.
Ready to celebrate Black History Month? Check out these ideas – all originated and run by Black artists and educators — below:
Black History Month is a great time to celebrate Black talents in all industries, artists included! When was the last time you went to the museum to learn about the revolutionary works of Black artists?
Now, more and more institutions are offering digital programming. For example, the Smithsonian’s Natural Museum of African American History and Culture has a digital “searchable museum” full of history lessons and virtual tours.
Why is this a great idea for Black History Month? Studying art by Black artists provides a unique opportunity to inspire and teach through unique storytelling.
How to get started 👉 Learn some African-American history in Exploring Black Art: Harlem Renaissance!
Your Black History Month celebration should be just that – a celebration. Make it a company-wide effort that can involve everyone in a way that they can feel good about. Invite interesting guest speakers, such as artists, educators, or figures from the Civil Rights Movement.
Cater the event with food from a local black owned restaurant, make a playlist filled with the diverse talents of Black musicians, and play Black History Month trivia!
Why is this a great idea for Black History Month? Throwing a party that highlights Black culture is a great way to build inclusive culture and get the entire team bonding!
How to get started 👉 Celebrate Black History Month with Black History & Culture Trivia
Companies can also celebrate Black History Month by meaningfully impacting lives other than those of their employees. Your company can make a financial contribution to a historically Black College or a nonprofit organization that fights for equality for the black community, such as:
Why is this a great idea for Black History Month? Supporting organizations that provide support and mentorships to the Black community is a great way to honor Black History Month. You can also support Black-owned businesses through subcontracting or the establishment of joint ventures.
How to get started 👉 Encourage employees to share the local, or national causes, that are grabbing their attention and need volunteers or donations!
A happy hour is the perfect team building activity, especially when you're learning some history in the process! This February, gather your team to unwind and raise a glass while learning about the real stories behind Black History Month founder, Carter. G. Woodson, as well as the history and culture of Haiti.
Why is this a great idea for Black History Month? A happy hour is a great way to get your team bonding, while learning more about Black history and culture from a knowledgeable Black mixologist in the process!
How to get started 👉 Raise a glass and cheers to a Black History Mixology Class!
Story-telling is a time-honored tool for learning about different cultures. Your company can help your employees celebrate and learn about Black history by giving them books by Black authors.
Do you have a team of movie-buffs? Why not gather for regular viewings of movies written, directed, and starring Black artists. For added employee engagement, have a post-movie discussion where you can dive deeper into the themes presented in the film you've watched.
Why is this a great idea for Black History Month? Gathering for critical discussion is not only a great professional development opportunity, but it also helps employees of all cultural backgrounds become more well versed in the stories of Black people.
How to get started 👉 Learn real life stories of Black leaders in film in History of Black Cinema!
Of course, February is just one month. To truly honor the spirit of Black History Month, promote inclusion and celebrate cultural diversity all year long, not just in a month long celebration.
Try to promote diversity and an inclusive environment by planning meaningful diversity activities regularly that can educate and inspire, thereby strengthening bonds between your team members. Don’t forget to make your diversity and inclusion activities as engaging and enjoyable as possible. And, of course, give space to your Black colleagues to lead these plannings as well!
Ready to add some DEI events to the diversity calendar? Check out Confetti's Black History Month collection today!