February is Black History Month, a time to recognize the role of African Americans throughout history and honor their culture and achievements. This years theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”. In the workplace, it’s an opportunity to not only show your support for this community, but also to demonstrate your commitment to a diverse office culture. You can celebrate by hosting topical events and activities that help champion diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
Below are some ways that you can celebrate Black History Month with your employees, whether it be in person or virtual.
1. Invite guest speakers to facilitate D&I dialogues. Bring in guest speakers to facilitate conversations about the importance of D&I at work. Whether it be a panel of diverse leaders or a D&I expert, all employees can benefit from an opportunity to engage in identity dialogues about how their demographics — in addition to ethnicity and nationality — shape their work experiences.
2. Create a Slack channel. Slack is a fun and easy way to keep employees engaged and informed all month long. Create a #blackhistorymonth Slackchannel to share “Slack Facts,” keep employees up to date about relevant events, and more. Nominate an employee (or employees) to post regularly in the channel about historical figures and other facts about black history to encourage a culture of learning.
3. Promote Black Art, Film and Literature. There are tons of contributions out there by artists of color that describe what it’s like to be black in America. Sharing a list of those resources with your employees can encourage them to learn about the African American experience on their own, specifically, what it’s like to live in a country that systemically oppresses people because of their skin color.
4. Share employee experiences. Turn your next company-wide meeting, into an engaging event where employees can speak about their heritage and share what Black History Month means to them.
5. Support black-owned or black-operated businesses and nonprofits. Host a service day during Black History Month for employees to volunteer with black businesses or nonprofits. Also, take this month to support black owned restaurants, catering services and other small businesses.
6. Below are some additional resources to honor Black History Month.
- Creating Your 2021 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy:This year has irrevocably changed diversity, equity, and inclusion. The coronavirus pandemic and protests against racial injustice and systemic racism were brought to the forefront of many conversations. Join this exclusive webinar to learn how your organization can create a strategic DEI plan for your employees, stakeholders and the public.
- How to Create Long-Term Equity for Black Employees: The last months have brought the systemic inequities faced by Black people in society and at work to the forefront. Many organizations have pledged their commitment to the Black Lives Matter cause, but are asking themselves, “what should actually come next within my organization?” In this exclusive webinar, Jolen Anderson, Global Head of Human Resources for BNY Mellon, and Dr. Evelyn Carter, Director at Paradigm, discuss what your organization should consider to create long-term equity for black employees.
- Allyship at All Levels: How Organizations Can Support Black Employees Right Now: The events of the last few months have been the culmination of systemic inequities and injustices that bring harm to Black Americans, and Black employees cannot leave the resulting trauma “at the door” when they show up for work. In this exclusive webinar, Snap’s VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Oona King and Paradigm’s Dr. Evelyn Carter and Natalie Johnson, discuss how your organization can actively support black colleagues.