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Black History Month: A Time for Reflection, Celebration, and Commitment

By Victoria Person - Feb 8, 2022 7:30:00 AM - 3 MINS READ

If it’s February, this must be the time we recognize and celebrate the contributions of Black and African Americans, right? Well…yes and no. Yes, this is the month first recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976 to reflect on and celebrate the achievements of those in the African diaspora. But, no—this shouldn’t be the ONLY time we do so.

For many years, workplaces have given lip service to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The events of 2020—the onset of a global pandemic and the killing of George Floyd and others—kicked some of these DEI efforts into high gear. The subsequent perceived labor shortage and “great resignation” have brought further attention to the need to keep and engage employees. Research shows a focus on diversity is something prioritized by more than 65% of job seekers.

Although cultural awareness-building is an important element of the DEI work, it’s not the only part. Organizations must also identify and rectify any systemic policies, practices, and attitudes that have led to inequity among historically marginalized groups. Keep in mind this is not the work only of and for those in the marginalized groups. It is unrealistic to ask those most at the mercy of inequitable systems to make them equitable. Everyone in an organization has a role to play in transforming workplaces into ones that work for all.

While there is no one right way to celebrate this important month, here are some ways your organization can make a difference:

    • COMMUNICATE internally and externally not only about Black History Month, but also about the overall commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
    • EDUCATE your employees by bringing in guest speakers, holding panels and workshops, or hosting book clubs and podcasts about race relations, social justice, and being a better ally and advocate.
    • GIVE time and funding to local non-profits that are making a difference in your community.
    • SUPPORT Black-owned businesses and diverse suppliers to benefit not just their bottom-line, but yours, too.
    • COLLABORATE internally with the intentional inclusion of diverse voices and externally with diverse recruiting sources such as HBCUs and professional networking groups.

However you celebrate, focus on long-term impact. The messaging and actions associated with Black History Month can and should lead to benefits that extend far beyond February. So, start celebrating!



Victoria Person

Victoria is a certified Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) professional and a DE&I Consultant at OutSolve. For the past nine years, she created a more inclusive environment at Southern California Gas Company, the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility and part of the Fortune 300 Sempra Energy family of companies. She has also spent ten years in corporate communications and five years in film and television production. Victoria’s passion is to create workplaces where diversity is valued and inclusion creates a sense of belonging.

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