Every year in February, we recognize, celebrate, and promote the achievements of the black community. Exceptional individuals who greatly contribute to our society. Black History Month is also an opportunity for companies to promote internal diversity and educate themselves on social issues.
And you, how are you going to celebrate this special month in your organization? Here are some simple ideas that are easily applicable to any organizational context.
Invite experts to lead/facilitate dialogue on diversity and inclusion
This can take the form of round tables, workshops or Q&A on relevant topics that you want to highlight: unconscious bias, diversity, inclusion, being an ally, #BlackLivesMatter, etc. This will allow your employees to openly ask questions and learn about the different experiences of their colleagues.
What if I do not have the budget for it?
No worries, then you will have testimonials! Take this opportunity to engage your own employees, so that they can share and discuss their experiences in the workplace. You will just need to ensure that you have a moderator to facilitate respectful discussions.
Support local businesses and black-owned NPOs
Let’s continue to support the local economy in Quebec, but let’s not forget entrepreneurs from the black community. This can be done by hiring a community caterer for your next corporate event, by collaborating with service providers for your activities or by organizing a volunteer day that benefits or supports organizations working for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, for example.
Highlight your talents internally
This involves creating, for example, a “Hall of fame” to highlight and recognize employees who have distinguished themselves in recent months in your company and who are the pride of their community. Representation is important, but the representation of successful role models is even more so. Especially for your junior employees.
Promote art and raise awareness
Education and awareness are also about art and entertainment. There are books, films, documentaries, and theater productions available to educate about black history, both locally and internationally. It would be relevant to share a list of these resources with your employees to encourage them to learn more about the experience of Afro-descendants, especially in a society where racism and systemic discrimination are still prevalent.
Another fun way to raise awareness is to do a quiz on Black History Month, during a lunch & learn or a 5 @ 7 cocktail hour. Employees will be able to learn and discuss events, key figures, and historical moments.
Celebrating Black History Month in organizations means accepting and embracing diversity and inclusion in your corporate culture. It is a way to connect with your employees in the community. Remember, however, to celebrate these all year round, not just in February.
By Noellie Dias, CRHA – Human Resources Consultant
HR Blog Editor – Iceberg Management Blog
#Makeitmakesense #Impactthatmatters #BLM #BHM #MHN