Happy Black History Month! It’s great that this honoring of African American heritage and achievements is celebrated in February because it can serve as a warm-up for celebrating diversity all year long.
Celebrating minority milestones and holidays in the workplace is celebrating diversity itself. It demonstrates an inclusive culture and also shows employees how to be open to people from different backgrounds.
Nurturing diversity makes good business sense. There are numerous benefits to having a workforce full of individuals from different races,
ages, national origins, gender, socio-economic class, etc.
Some of the most notable benefits that organizations cite are improved innovation and creativity, employee retention, and attracting the most qualified employees. Who doesn’t want more of those things?
Below are some ideas of how you can celebrate diversity through Black History Month.
Pick a Day to Party
What’s a celebration without a party? Just like having a party for Halloween or employees’ birthdays, it’s a good excuse to break from the day-to-day routine and connect with each other on a more casual level. It gives everyone something to look forward to!
So, break out the snacks and goodies, decorate the breakroom with pictures of notable African Americans and their best quotes, put on some R&B music, and you’ve got yourself a party!
Make it Last All Month
Rather than restricting the celebration of Black History Month to one day, why not stretch it out?
Have team members research traditional African American foods, prepare (or buy) them, and taste a new one every week. It’s a great way to honor the traditions of the past and learn more about the culture.
Another idea is to make a team commitment to learn something about the history of African Americans by reading a book together, seeing a movie, or individually researching and sharing what you learn with each other. Or put a fun spin on it by creating a trivia game out of facts about accomplishments of African Americans.
Honor it All Year
The founders of Black History Month started with petitioning for a one-week celebration in February; later, it was expanded to a full month. Why not celebrate all year long?
By taking a longer period, you can make a more significant impact on promoting a culture of inclusion. Start by exchanging stories of African Americans who have touched your lives, including friends, family, authors, musicians, etc. They don’t have to be famous.
The point of Black History Month was to give attention to the significant contribution that African Americans have made to the United States that have historically been overlooked. The numerous individuals who make an impact every day that may be overlooked are worthy of celebration, not just the handful of names we all recognize.
It’s also valuable to have a group discussion about injustices that you’ve witnessed in the more recent past. That can be a great springboard for brainstorming as a team about how to be more understanding of each other and honor diversity throughout the year.
As you look for other diversity celebrations, be sure to check out timeanddate.com. It has a long list of United Nations Holidays, many of which are focused on diversity. Also, the anti-defamation League has an online calendar with many diverse observance days.
Looking Towards the Future
What’s important about minority group milestones and holidays is not only to celebrate and learn about each other’s backgrounds, but also to acknowledge the injustices of the past and present and strive to learn, as a society, from our mistakes and move forward in a more positive, inclusive way.
It’s More Fun to When We Share!
Please share in the comment section below your ideas about how to celebrate Black History Month.
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