Black History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate Black History and achievements.
It is also a time to educate your employees and the wider business community about Black History Month, encouraging empathy, proximity, and connection between different racial groups. Many businesses want to ensure that their initiatives are meaningful and that they resonate with their stakeholders, ensuring that inclusivity is an all-round practice.
5 ways to recognize Black History month at work
We’re sharing with you five ways to recognize Black History Month in the workplace, and how to make DEI initiatives both actionable and impactful:
The purpose of Black History Month is to recognize and understand Black history, so organize activities that share facts and knowledge.
Make it engaging - get people involved. This could be hosting events - for example, bringing in speakers, organizing workshops for your team, or organize a visit to a historic site of importance in Black history. You could plan a book club to read books about Black history by Black authors. Ensure any events are in a safe space where all employees feel comfortable.
Amplify minority voices - where appropriate:
Invite Black employees to share their ideas and input on recognizing the month. Employees may want to share their stories, culture, and histories. However, it is important to ensure no one feels pressured to take on extra responsibility, singled out or tokenized. Recognizing Black History Month shouldn't fall solely on Black employees.
Get everyone involved:
Acknowledging Black History Month is important for everyone. We all need to be aware of this aspect of American History and the contributions and achievements of Black people. Raising awareness across employees of all backgrounds helps to promote inclusivity.
Volunteer or donate to Black-led charities:
Look for local volunteering opportunities and organize a day of giving back - mentoring is an excellent way of giving back. Alternatively, you could identify a charity to fundraise for. There are several Black-led charities or non-profits with diverse missions to choose from - especially in the STEM industry.
Look at your internal DEI:
Reflect on how diverse your organization is - you might need a strategy around internal hiring. Equally, you might want to create an internal DEI committee to drive inclusion in the workplace all year round, not just during Black History Month. Whatever you choose to do for Black History Month, ensure that it isn't a token effort. Make sure you have a comprehensive DEI strategy to drive diversity and inclusion all year - not just in February.
It's an opportunity for companies to reflect on their current D&I strategies and initiatives and implement improvements. Diversify the Future is a not-for-profit foundation providing underrepresented communities with STEM opportunities. We are sponsored by Engtal, a leading technology and engineering staffing specialist. For every diverse placement made by Engtal, $1000 is donated to Diversify the Future Foundation to fund STEM scholarships. Visit our How It Works page to find out more, or get in touch to see how we can support you.