Don’t have a plan yet, don’t worry, we got you!
I’ll break down 7 ways to authentically integrate Black History Month activities into your company culture, as well as a strategy map for implementation and an opportunity to highlight your fantastic work. Before we get started, I want to say: Black history is American history. Period.
Let’s Get Started Your people enjoy learning about other cultures, so let this be a starting point. Pick three ways (from the list below) to incorporate Black History Month throughout February, but the goal here is to continue this work throughout the year and start incorporating other cultures. For example, Chinese New Year starts on Feb 12. https://chinesenewyear.net/… let’s begin!
1. Set a budget If you’re doing it for the “ROI,” you can quit reading now. Having a budget to honor the people you are going to want to speak to your people. Do not let them do it for free. Set the budget now and make it clear that you are paying $XXX.XX for X amount of time. Also, consider a budget for activities and donations to organizations. 2. Launch BHM with out-of-the-box education and stories. Start with education and share different stories. Don't just use Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or the first few that come to mind. There are SO many amazing stories directly from Black people, notable heroes, and otherwise. Consider highlighting someone who isn't well-known. If you’re looking for a fantastic workshop, How To Become A Racist is a great option. 3. Host a Book Club (with books from Black authors). You don't need to read the entire book during February. The goal is not to segregate the celebration of Blackness into one month. Use this as a launching point. Pace your meeting cadence--I recommend meeting every two weeks for 30 or 45 mins max. 4. Movie watch No time to read? Watch a movie. Pick a movie with a positive message that encourages dialogue. Here is a list of some of my favorite movies Black inspirational movies: Remember the Titans (2002) PG The pursuit of Happiness (2006) PG-13 Collateral Beauty (2016) PG-13 Seven Pounds (2008) PG-13 Coach Carter (2005) PG-13 Black Panther (2018) PG-13 Lean on Me (1989) PG-13 Princess and the Frog (2009) G Hair Love (2019) G Soul (2020) PG The Great Debaters (2007) PG-13 Akeelah and the Bee (2006) PG Antwon Fisher (2002) PG-13 Dreamgirls (2006) PG-13 Black is King (2020) TV-14 Queen of Katwe (2016) PG
5. Dust off all those Black Lives Matter commitments and make good on them. Nothing shows you care better than action—apologize to the culture for not following through and get to work. There are tons of wonderfully qualified people that can partner with you. Always remember to set a budget, or everything will seem "too expensive.”
6. Get uncomfortable Black history is American history. Period. Going past the textbooks and media proscribed perception, you'll learn a hidden world that adds beauty to our nation. It requires a paradigm shift that is never comfortable. Using this month as a refresh launch point to celebrate all cultures is key.
7. Cook together Food connects humanity. One of my favorite dishes to make that is perfect for this season is gumbo. It translates over all types of Black cultures, and the concept of a "stew" is culturally universal. It can also be made for all different types of food sensitivities. Just don’t do this: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/20/wright-state-university-black-history-month-menu-fried-chicken
Getting Started Now that you have some fantastic ideas, use the charts below as a model to theme out each week in February. Add as little or as much as you want, but do SOMETHING and do it with intent and heart. Get creative, showcase humanity, and let cultures shine.
Okay, that's it for now. The goal here is to keep going and start incorporating other cultures. The key is constancy, using heart and intent to propel the celebrations of cultures forward both inside and outside the workplace.
If you get stuck or have any questions, I got you, and I’m happy to help guide you. Light, Love, and Gratitude--thank you for reading.
– Charisse Fontes
Share your Success! Tag @CultureCircle on LinkedIn with your highlights from Black History Month. We look forward to celebrating with you!
About Culture Circle Humanity. Ubuntu. Efficiency. These key values create the foundation for inclusive and healthy workplace cultures. U.S-based Culture Circle, founded by Charisse Fontes, is the only Black-owned, Woman-run Culture Consulting Agency that transforms the employee experience through the lens of anthropology and humanity. Learn more and connect with us here.