Black History Month is a time to celebrate the heritage and culture of black people and their contributions to society. Black History Month takes place every year between 1st – 31st October. The event was officially registered by the US Government in 1976 and celebrated in 1987b in the UK. The celebration aims to promote and celebrate Black contributions to British Society, as well as providing and understanding of Black History in general.
What is Black History Month?
The event has traditionally become an important date in the cultural calendar of many museums, galleries and local authorities in the UK. The focus of Black History Month has expanded its coverage over the years t o celebrate the history of African, Asian and Caribbean people and their contributions in Britain. This month was chosen in the United States because of the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass – the African-American social reformer – and President Abraham Lincoln. In the UK, Black History Month was launched in the 1980s in London and was largely the result of local community activism which challenged racism in British society.
Ways to celebrate Black History Month at work
Black History Month is an opportunity to ensure that all young people, no matter their background, learn about Black history, the achievements of Black Britons and their contributions to British society. This is our national story, this is British history, it belongs to all of us.
- Make it a company effort – In the spirit of inclusivity, everyone in your organisation should be encouraged to participate with enthusiasm. It shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of Black employees to organize their own recognition, and you’ll find that it’s transformative to have employees of every background participating and learning during Black History Month.
- Don’t single anyone out – You shouldn’t assume that someone wants to be involved in your Black History Month planning simply because of their ethnic background. That places the burden of responsibility on them, and if they’re a visible minority at your workplace. Remember, for best results, you should be recognizing all your employees, all year round.
- Spotlight employees stories -Companies don’t need to look far to find great voices to highlight. People are a company’s greatest asset, and BHM is the perfect time to celebrate Black employees and their work. Companies can share posts or videos internally on their own websites or newsletters, or externally on social media (again, always ask employees what they’re comfortable sharing and where).
- Bring in Speakers – Many companies celebrate BHM by bringing in speakers to share stories and experiences around race and black identity. Promoting diverse voices creates a space for understanding and empathy. Involve employees and open up the conversation to anyone who wants to participate by sending out a company-wide email asking for speaker and topic suggestions.
These are a few ideas on how to celebrate Black History Month in the workplace. There are many ways to celebrate this cultural event. We would love to hear how you are celebrating BHM in your work environment. Tag us in your posts on social media!