4 Ways to Honour Black History Month

February is a time for celebration – the long, long nights of January are finally over, mid-way through is the lighthearted Valentine’s Day and all month long is the celebration of Black History Month.

The theme this year for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness, shining a light on medical scholars and health care workers. It’s an especially apt theme considering how the pandemic has affected minority communities and Black health care workers more than any others. According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), it also “considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.”

February was originally chosen for Black History Month because of it housing the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, a staunch advocate for the emancipation of slaves, and Frederick Douglass, a leader of the abolitionist movement.

So, what are some ways we, as individuals, leaders and teams can honour the contributions of the Black community and commemorate the month?

1. Support Black Owned Businesses
During the pandemic, Black owned businesses have seen twice the decline of their white counterparts. Luckily, no matter what you’re looking for, there are some amazing Black owned businesses to choose from. An easy way to search is to look-up the #blackowned hashtag or search online networks like blackownedbiz.com.

2. Learn about and Donate to Anti-Racism Equity Charities
In order to continue the work to combat racism and seek social justice, it takes allies, activists and organizations. There are many to choose from including NAACP, Black Youth Project, Color of Change and many more.

3. Educate yourself about Black History
Try adding some books by Black authors to the reading list for you and your family. Whether you choose to read about the history of slavery, or a work of fiction telling Black stories, your perspective and understanding will be opened up.

4. Invite Guest Speakers & Spark DEI Conversations
Reach out to your Black Employee Resource Group to participate in events and learning opportunities. Invite a local equity champion or curate a diverse panel of speakers to share personal stories, unique perspectives and spark new conversations. Interview staff to share their ancestral stories, pick a book to read as a team and discuss your key takeaways or watch a film about black history and have a team discussion afterwards.

Looking forward to hearing about how you choose to honour Black history this month and all year long, at work and in life.

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