Black History: More Than A Monthlong Celebration
Every February, our nation—and countries worldwide—celebrate the contributions and cultures of generations of Black communities. This Black History Month, your workplace may hold town hall conversations, welcome guest speakers, or organize volunteer events, all aimed at raising awareness about the notable Black pioneers who helped advance our country. And hopefully, you’ll get to take part in some of these events!
While Black History Month programming is a critical opportunity for awareness-raising, the spirit behind it should be celebrated year-round, not just in February. After all, the contributions of people like Frederick Douglass, Ruby Bridges, and Bayard Rustin should be easily recognizable, but far too often the stories of Black Americans have fallen through the cracks. We need that history so our workplaces, schools, governments, and everything in between can collectively understand the value diversity has brought to our country—and to keep pushing for a diverse and inclusive America.
3 Ways to Celebrate Black History Year-Round
This Black History Month, apart from catching an author event or lending a hand at a community gathering, commit to doing more! Make this the year you take action—and it doesn’t have to be big. Even small efforts to encourage understanding can go a long way.
Here are a few ways to make Black History Month extend far beyond February:
Keep learning: No matter what color you are, your background, or how well-versed you are on the milestones of Black history, there will always be more to learn. Don’t just sign up for educational opportunities when they’re presented to you, seek them out! For instance, local libraries are great resources for materials and events celebrating diversity. Be an avid reader and a constant learner and you may be surprised at how much there is to still learn about Black history.
Have an open mind: Understanding Black history may require you to do some “re-learning.” There may be stories and narratives that get you thinking about American history that you learned a bit differently. Be open to that!
Give back: Turn your learning into action! Support Black-owned businesses, volunteer at causes dedicated to Black communities, or attend rallies and marches calling for equality for all people. In those ways, you can do your part to evolve what modern Black history means.
Build community: If you notice a lack of spaces celebrating Black history and culture in your own life, embrace that opportunity to become a leader! For instance, talk to your managers at work about starting a diversity, equity, and inclusion program or an employee resource group if one doesn’t exist. And if it does, take on a leadership role in such an initiative. If you’re in school, take steps to launch an educational diversity program for the campus community. Such efforts create real change and help those involved build new skills, boost their resume, and make important connections.
This Black History Month, commit to learning, sharing, and growing—and keep it up throughout the year!
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