Black History Month 2023
February is Black History Month, Exude Human Capital encourages your organization to celebrate in a meaningful way! It is critical to ensure diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are at the forefront of your organization’s priorities. As an organization, it’s important to set standards for how to eradicate discrimination and bias and encourage the inclusion of all employees. Include your team by asking everyone to participate in Black History Month.
According to The History Channel, Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. In September 1915, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.
Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs, and host performances and lectures. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month in 1976, and every sitting president has done so since.
How To Celebrate Black History Month in Your Workplace:
- Educate Your Employees – For employees that may not know the significance of Black History Month, education is a great first step. This can be done through book clubs, movie suggestions, bringing in guest speakers, or holding diversity and inclusion training seminars– anything that fits your organization’s culture. By hearing other peoples’ perspectives, employees can learn new insights and gain a better understanding of why they should celebrate.
- Share and Support Black-owned Organizations – Research shows that Black-owned businesses often struggle to survive due to a lack of accessible capital. One way to support them is to buy direct or share their stories on social media. If you personally can’t make a purchase, sharing their business can inspire one of your followers too. There are a few websites, like WeBuyBlack, to help you locate these businesses. Exude will also be sharing some Philadelphia-based Black-owned businesses throughout the month. Additionally, volunteering with Black-led or Black-run non-profits can inspire motivation and help employees connect with both their coworkers and their local communities.
- Advocate Through Your Business – Hiring diverse talent is an excellent way of showing both potential candidates and your employees that diversity and inclusion are a priority for your organization. Partners, employees, and the community want to see themselves represented in the companies that they work with and buy from. Additionally, make sure you have internal processes and policies to recognize and reward diverse groups, for example, implementing a 360-degree peer recognition program. Executive boards and leadership tend to be less diverse, so by implementing this type of program in your organization, you are diversifying the parties responsible for giving feedback and increasing satisfaction.
- Make it a Company-Wide Effort – Whatever your organization chooses to do, encourage all employees to participate, and most importantly, don’t single anyone out. You don’t want to tokenize your Black employees by forcing them to do all the planning and celebrating. In order to truly be inclusive, employees of all backgrounds should learn and take part in these activities.