4 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in the Workplace
You probably remember learning about Black History month when you were in school or seeing companies posting about it on social media, but have you ever thought about how you can honor it in the workplace? In honor of Black History Month, here are four meaningful ways to celebrate Black History at work.
Provide Educational Opportunities
Utilizing resources that provide access to influential authors, leaders, historians, or activists is a great way to honor Black History Month in the workplace. For example, you could physically invite someone to speak in your workplace, hold a virtual town hall, use community resources or recordings to bring these discussions to your team. Becoming educated is a powerful step to confronting and eliminating the bias every individual has – whether intentionally held or not. To celebrate Black History Month, consider bringing in speakers who can educate your team on race relations, diversity, civil rights, and other topics relating to Black identity.
Hosting a panel discussion with your current team members of color is also a great way to provide Black History education for your workplace. Panel discussions allow people to engage with one another, bounce ideas off each other, brainstorm ways to improve DE&I in the company, reveal areas for growth in the organization, and provoke critical thinking.
Finally, workshops are another great education tool for celebrating Black History Month. A facilitator will work with your team to problem-solve and actively think critically instead of just listening. Whether the education opportunities involve watching recordings, hosting speakers, holding panel discussions, or conducting a workshop, the goal should be to create an engaging and thought-provoking experience.
Allowing or encouraging your team to volunteer at local non-profits or organizations is a fantastic way to build and strengthen bonds between your organization and the community it serves. Lending your support as an organization is especially powerful because you bring many helping hands to a project. It’s also incredibly beneficial on a business level as you can also form corporate partnerships and create lasting relationships by establishing internships, apprenticeships, or recruiting programs.
Consider creating a volunteer policy at your organization that gives your team dedicated time, either monthly, quarterly, or yearly, to give back to their community. By having a dedicated policy, it’s more likely that your employees will spend time volunteering.
Make a point to focus on and highlight Black-focused or Black-led non-profits or organizations during February. You can connect with your community resources to connect on a local level or there are larger organizations like Black Girls Who Code or My Brother’s Keeper Alliance for example.
Make a Donation
Your company should make a donation at a corporate level, but can also encourage your team to contribute as well. Encourage your staff to pool your resources together or arrange a fundraiser to support racial justice – then, as a company, match their funds. With the ongoing pandemic, it may not be realistic to physically volunteer for an organization so monetary gifts can be the most impactful thing your organization can give a charity.
Again, there will be local organizations you can donate too – utilize your community resource and current team to find these. There are also national charities as well such as NAACP Legal and Education Fund or the Thurgood Marshal College Fund.
Create an Environment of Inclusion
To ensure that celebrating Black History goes beyond one month of the year, create a committee within your organization dedicated to promoting DE&I initiatives. Not only will this be beneficial in your overall employee engagement, retention, and hiring efforts, it’ll show that this is a company-wide priority with buy-in at every level of the organization. In addition, having a committee focused on progressing diversity, equity, and inclusion shows that your company is dedicated to making your work environment a better place and encourages a free-flowing of ideas and feedback between employees and leadership regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, background, or sexual orientation.
While we celebrate and highlight Black History in February, ensure Black History continues beyond the end of the month by implementing the above practices throughout the year. Provide continuous education opportunities, encourage your team to volunteer, make monetary donations, and create an environment focused on DE&I.
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