4 Ways Your Company Can Celebrate Black History Month In 2020
February is Black History Month (BHM)—a time when the U.S. reflects on all the contributions Black Americans have made throughout the country’s history. BHM has been celebrated in the U.S. for over a century. During the month of February, schools and communities come together to commemorate Black American culture, history, and achievements. Given that racial tensions in the U.S. are now reaching critical levels, some say, it is imperative that the country finds ways to bridge the racial divide. Although Black history should be studied everyday by everyone in order for the country to grow, heal and evolve from past transgressions like slavery, Jim Crow laws, redlining and Black codes, BHM is an excellent time to shine a spotlight on Black history to pay homage and create more opportunities for learning. What are some ways that your company can celebrate BHM this year?
1. Hire Black speakers. One of the best ways to celebrate BHM is by inviting Black field experts to come speak to your employees. This could be in the form of panel discussions or keynote speeches on relevant topics to your workplace. In addition to hiring Black speakers, it’s important to also pay them, and pay them equitably. The sad reality is that women and people of color are often underpaid, if they are paid at all for speaking engagements. If you are still looking for ways to celebrate BHM this year, a) enlist Black speakers to come speak to your organization and b) pay them equitably for their time.
2. Amplify Black voices. In addition to bringing in Black field experts to speak to your organization, you can also highlight Black employees who are making their mark within your company or industry. Invite Black employees to share their story or any relevant details about their work/life that they feel comfortable sharing. You can compile these stories and send them out as a newsletter to employees or post them to your internal network or intranet. This is a great way for employees to learn more about their colleagues and this also provides a great opportunity for Black employees to share their stories. Vulnerability can be an effective component to help individuals form deep bonds, so allowing employees to share their story could provide this opportunity. Along with supporting Black employees, your company can gift employees books by Black authors. Being able to read stories from Black perspectives can be impactful in fostering more understanding and inclusion. Some books you may want to consider include, The Memo, How to be an Antiracist and The New Jim Crow.
4. Support a charity focused on racial justice. Another way to celebrate BHM is to donate funds to charities and causes focused around racial equity and justice. Some of these organizations include the NAACP, Know Your Rights Camp, and Color of Change. Your company can donate funds, partner with them or support their local or national events. Your organization can also donate funds to historically black colleges and universities of your choosing. Also, encourage employees to support racial equity and justice organizations and charities during and beyond BHM.