Black History month is commonly celebrated in our youth. In school, we learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his “I Have a Dream” speech. We learn about Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on the bus, and how she helped continue the conversation about racial injustice. We may even learn about Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, and its “freeing” of slaves. However, Black History Month is very rarely celebrated in the workplace. And no, we’re not talking about giving Black employees a day off.
There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month in a professional setting. If you have a DE&I program at work, you can connect with the leaders of that program and find ways of ensuring that your employees in the BIPOC community feel included, seen, and their voices heard. If you don’t have a DE&I program, this is a great time to start! This is one of the many ways you can celebrate Black History Month beyond the month of February. We’ve listed a few more ways you can celebrate Black leaders and create an inclusive environment below.
1.) Remove. Connect with your HR team and DE&I professionals and find a way to set the standard to eradicate conscious and unconscious bias. This ensures that employees of all backgrounds and races have continuous equity.
2.) Educate. Bring in speakers, create a book club, or have a round-table discussion about topics that affect your BIPOC employees. Find ways to navigate topics such as why Black women can’t be introverts, discrimination about hair and its texture, and read books like “The Fire This Time” by Jesmyn Ward.
3.) Inclusion. Teams with inclusive cultures outperform their peers by 80% according to Deloitte. Understand that events that happen outside of the workplace affect your employees, and it’s always a great idea to know HOW those events may affect them. Seek out different perspectives and opinions, and reach out to Black leaders in your organization, and ask how they would like to be elevated.
These are just a few ways that you can celebrate Black History Month beyond the month of February. Remember, Black history IS American history and should be celebrated 365 days of the year.
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