Black History Month was first celebrated in February 1976, although its origins began 50 years before when historian Carter G. Woodson announced Negro History Week (Library of Congress). To this day, the organization Woodson founded – the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) – carries on the mission to “inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”
What are some practical ways you can recognize Black History Month at work?
Whether on an individual or corporate level, there are many ways to impact our local community. Team volunteering is a great way to support initiatives that are important to the company and also build relationships. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities but aren’t sure where to start, VolunteerMatch is a helpful launching point. Search by zip code or type of opportunity; Advocacy & Human Rights, Animals, and Community are only a few of the many categories available.
Coffee chats or learning lunches
Do you know any experts who would be interested in sharing their perspectives on civil rights, inclusion and belonging, and recruiting practices? Consider inviting them to speak with your team. The event doesn’t have to be extremely formal – for example, Another Source hosted a Coffee & Conversations chat on the topic of disability awareness – but it should encourage discussion. Set aside enough time for questions or collect them anonymously before the event.
Encourage employees to support Black-owned businesses
Local restaurants, artists and musicians, makers – you can be as creative as you like! For instance, during Hispanic Heritage Month, Another Source offered everyone a credit to order lunch from their Hispanic-owned restaurant of choice for our All Hands meeting. Employees expressed how this was a great way to learn about culture as well as meaningfully support their communities.
Which one of these activities will you try with your team? Are there others your company has done that you enjoyed? Tell us about them in the comments!
Written by Evelyn Kwong 2023