February is Black History Month, a time to recognize the role of African Americans throughout history and honor their culture and achievements. In the workplace, it’s not just a chance to show your support for this community, but also an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to a diverse office culture. At Managed by Q, our Employee Resource Group celebrates Black History Month by organizing topical events and activities that help champion diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Here are seven creative ways that you can celebrate Black History Month in your own office.
Create a Slack channel
Slack is a fun and easy way to keep employees engaged and informed all month long. Create a #blackhistorymonth Slack channel to share “Slack Facts,” keep employees up to date about relevant events, and more. Nominate an employee (or employees) to post regularly in the channel about historical figures and other facts about black history to encourage a culture of learning.
Host film screenings
Screen a film in your office or sponsor an employee outing to your local movie theater. This is an entertaining way to bring your company together while still educating them about an important subject. Last February, Managed by Q organized a movie outing to Black Panther, as well as a viewing of 2 Fists Up, a documentary directed by Spike Lee that examines how the Black Lives Matter movement sparked activism across the United States and on the Mizzou campus. This year, we're having a screening and discussion of Ava Duvernay’s documentary 13th. The film explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the U.S.
Facilitate a reading club
If your workplace doesn’t have a reading club yet, now is a great time to start! Select a book (or a collection of short stories) and schedule times for interested employees to meet and talk about the works. This February, Managed by Q’s Black History Month reading club will be discussing The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates. Provide copies of your chosen books or share PDFs of the short stories to guarantee a higher turnout.
Share employee experiences
Turn your next All Hands into an engaging event where employees can speak about their heritage and share what Black History Month means to them. Get creative with presentations, decor, and refreshments.
Bring in outside support
Invite a speaker or thought leader to speak to your company and spark difficult but powerful conversations. You can discuss this year’s Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” or dive into topics like diversity and inclusion at work and raise awareness about cultural issues.
Support minority-owned businesses
The next time you order a catered lunch for the office, skip the chain restaurant and choose to support a minority-owned business in your area. Another option is to organize Lunch Squads. Sort your employees into groups for lunch once a week, and give each table a few ice breakers, activities, or discussion topics. This month at Managed by Q, our Lunch Squads will be doing an exercise around the topic of privilege.
Donate to worthy causes or organizations of your choice
Collect donations for a non-profit that supports people of color, such as Black Lives Matter, Black Girls Rock, or All Star Code. You can ask for donations via your #blackhistorymonth Slack channel or collect donations as an entry free to your Black History Month events. No contribution is too small!
It’s great to devote a month to celebrating black history in your office, but your advocacy of diversity and inclusion practices shouldn’t end there. Keep this top of mind year round, and you’ll better ensure that everyone at your company feels comfortable and supported at work.