If you're reading this blog post, I’d like to wish you a happy Black History Month! The month of February is a very special time of reflection, acknowledgment, and celebration. If you are not very familiar with the origins of Black History Month (BHM), let me give you a quick history lesson.
BHM was originally “Negro History Week”. In 1926, Carter G. Woodson and other African American leaders at the time designated the second week of February as a time to educate people about Black history and culture. He wanted the weeklong celebration to encourage and promote the coordinated teaching of Black history in public schools. 50 years later in 1976, the first month long celebration we know as Black History Month took place.
Now that we’ve had a refresher history lesson, I'd like to share five fun ways you can celebrate BHM at work.
Host a Meet and Eat
A great way to bring people together is by feeding them. So why not use this month of celebration as an opportunity to feed your colleagues? But let’s take it a step further. The menu can be catered by a local Black-owned restaurant. By doing this, you’ll be uplifting a Black-owned business, supporting a local business, and introducing your work friends to their new favorite restaurant!
Dedicate Some Social Media Posts to BHM
Your company's social media is one of the easiest ways to connect with the public. You can use this channel of communication to celebrate with your supporters. Here are some post ideas that you can feel free to use:
Quotes by prominent African American figures
Historical facts specific to your region
How your company is celebrating BHM
Shouting out Black- owned businesses
- Rasing awareness about local Black leaders
Invite a Speaker to Give a Presentation
Presentations are a simple way to help your colleagues learn about a topic. You can set aside some time to offer a presentation to your fellow employees, and possibly even the public. The speaker can be someone you bring in, or one of your very own! Their presentation can be about history, focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, or to raise awareness about efforts being made to pour into the Black community. The possibilities are truly endless.
Host a Company Wide Giveaway
Hosting a giveaway is a fun way to bring the company together, boost morale, and show appreciation to the lucky winner. This is another opportunity to support a Black-owned business. You can giveaway items or gift cards for Black-owned businesses.
The giveaway can be as simple as pulling names out of a hat, or you can make it even more fun by having a competition. Employees can be encouraged to submit written pieces, artwork/crafts, pictures, etc., for a chance to win!
Send Out a Special Edition BHM Newsletter
Last but definitely not least, you can dedicate an edition of your company’s newsletter to celebrate BHM. Its contents can include:
BHM happenings in the area
Local Black- owned businesses to support
Book suggestions by Black authors
A “What does BHM mean to me” section featuring employees
- Facts about lesser-known contributions of African Americans
Every year the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) chooses a theme for BHM. This year’s theme is: African Americans and the Arts. To celebrate this specific theme, you can support Black artists by reading their books, watching their movies, attending their art exhibits, etc.
Although we celebrate Black history all year, February is a special month where we set aside time to celebrate together. I hope you are able to incorporate some of these ideas at work, and even come up with your own. Once again, I’m wishing you the happiest Black History Month.
By: Madison Beckford