Creating an inclusive culture beyond Black History Month

Given Black History Month’s origin of commemorating notable accomplishments by Black Americans in the United States, the recent historic election of Kamala Harris as the first female, Black, and Asian-American Vice President of the United States is an unprecedented achievement. Vice President Harris joins the ranks of historical Black figures whose pioneering feats not only changed our nation’s course but often achieved global recognition.

Established in February of 1926 as National Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland, founders of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Black Americans nationwide were encouraged to learn more about their heritage and celebrate their achievements as a people.

National Negro History Week transitioned to Black History Month as the celebration’s popularity continued to gain momentum, particularly among black college students during the Civil Rights Movement. Black History Month was officially formalized by President Gerald Ford in 1976 “to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout history.”

Now that Black History Month is a recognized national observance, many organizations are searching for ways to celebrate and participate, and it can be a great time to kick start DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives. Here are some approaches your organization may consider for honoring Black History Month:

    1. Host a Black History Month event and invite a panel of DEI experts to discuss how DEI is foundational to healthy company culture.
    2. Encourage your employees to support Black-owned businesses and volunteer with local nonprofits, providing a list of suggestions and ways to participate.
    3. Organize a book club with weekly guided discussions

Facilitating a culture of on-going awareness relating to Black and BIPOC cultural dynamics beyond Black History Month is critical. Consider committing to a long-term strategy. OpenSesame can help your company make DEI part of your organization’s framework. We are committed to working with our customers and communities to use the powerful tools of training and education to help create more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environments. We invite you to check out our curated list of courses. For more information on how OpenSesame can help your organization, contact us at today.