Black History Month is an annual celebration of contributions made by the Black community throughout U.S. history. It was founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson as a week-long celebration in February 1926, coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, to promote the achievements of Black Americans.
There are plenty of ways for us as companies and individuals to commemorate the month, from supporting Black-owned businesses to learning about Black experiences to advocating for equity and empowerment of Black communities in the United States. Here are a few ways we can celebrate Black history, not just for this month, but all year round.
- Learn about Black history and experiences through AGC’s educational resource recommendations. We have put this together to make it easy to share with your employees and colleagues.
- Create a safe space for employees to engage in conversations and learn together as a community.
- Support Black-Owned Businesses locally and online. For example, this directory by Soleil Ho lists pop-up eateries in Northern and Southern California, as well as in other cities and states. For the online marketplace, Miiriya is a great place to start.
- Read and share books written by Black authors. Add books from ZORA Canon, a list of 100 greatest books written by Black women, to your reading list.
- Support economic development of Black-owned contractors by partnering with associations such as Black Chamber of Commerce, Black Contractors Association, African American Chamber of Commerce, and National Association of Minority Contractors (SoCal & NoCal) on your company’s subcontractor diversity outreach.
- Participate in virtual and/or in-person celebration events. Check out the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s Black History Month virtual events for audiences of all ages. Find community celebrations in your local areas.
Be careful not to:
- Simply spotlight Black employees and colleagues internally or externally. Diversity and inclusion are not the same. Listen to their feedback and encourage all employees to continue their learning and take action to support and amplify Black perspectives.
- Assume your Black employees and colleagues are willing and available to assist in planning your company’s Black History Month celebration.
- Stop at marketing and social media messaging – move into action by following the above suggestions and encouraging your teams to do the same!