Black Resistance … the theme of this year’s Black History Month. The word “resistance” holds so much meaning. African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression in every area of life — culture, industry, housing, health, education, religion, entertainment, the arts — you name it. And with each area of progress, there have been setbacks. And as always, with resiliency, the resistance continues.
Here are some real and authentic ways your organization can honor Black History Month this year. Here’s a hint: Start within your own organization.
Let your employees tell their stories publicly
Look inward and honor your employees publicly. This is the time to use your social media channels with authentic purpose. Who in your organization has an amazing story to tell or experience to share? The more we know about each other, the deeper we can understand how to grow and change together.
Invite your local community in
Every community has dynamic individuals who have overcome resistance to get to where they are today. Because this year’s theme opens the door wide for individuals to share their struggles about their climb to the places they have reached, who can you invite to come speak to your team? Use this opportunity to allow members of your community to inspire your employees to achieve greatness.
Research and share stories about the resistance leaders who have had a direct impact on your organization. Make connections to make it meaningful.
Regardless of the type of business, corporation, or organization you are a part of, there are African American people in history that have done the essential truth work to get us where we are today. Who are they? Share their stories with a “resistance-focused” theme. Understanding the lineage of work accomplished throughout history is essential to future change.
Educate your team
Consider opportunities, such as racial justice training or a viewing of “The Other Boys of Summer” documentary, to educate your team about the history of racism in sports.
Here’s a list of a few nonprofits working toward big change in connection with Black Resistance: NAACP, the ACLU, Color of Change, the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, and Black Lives Matter. These organizations are part of the resistance every step of the way, and your company can show support by rallying around them and making donations toward their essential work.
Invest in your own future
I firmly believe that the true work in continued observance of “Black History” is not something we accomplish within the short span of a celebratory month. Employees want to know that their leadership is consistently investing in real growth and change in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. Black History should not be a topic on a shelf, taken down each February to “celebrate” out of a sense of obligation or due diligence. It should serve to highlight the ongoing need to celebrate those who have come before us and who have inspired us, and whose inspiration fuels our continued and ongoing work.
In 1986 when Congress passed the official law designating February as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month,” President Ronald Reagan issued his proclamation stating that “the foremost purpose of Black History Month is to make all Americans aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity.” This proclamation further stated that this month was a time “to celebrate the many achievements of African Americans in every field, from science and the arts to politics and religion.”
That was almost 40 years ago. Today demands that we are more than aware; today demands action. Our society should be deeply committed, as a whole, to working toward organizational diversity at every level, so that 40 years from now, history is accurately and consistently portrayed, and all contributors to the growth of our country are acknowledged and celebrated equally and often.
Nona Lee is the founder and CEO of Truth DEI, a consulting firm helping organizations determine growth opportunities and strategies in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a 2018 SBJ Game Changers honoree.
Questions about OPED guidelines or letters to the editor? Email editor Jake Kyler at email@example.com
Credit: Source link