If last year proved anything, it was that America's long history of inequality is not a relic of the past. Many of us spent more time thinking about, speaking up against, and working to change the everyday racism faced by Black people in the United States in 2020 than we did in years past.
So when honoring Black History Month in 2021, doesn't it seem right to focus not just on the past, but on the present? Not just to learn about the notable accomplishments of impressive Black politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs, but also acknowledge the reality of the Black experience today—and work to improve it?
We asked several of our partner companies what they're doing to honor Black History Month at work, and we were inspired by the range of responses. From digging into economic injustices to investing in projects to support the Black community to sharing the real-life experiences of their Black employees, these companies are finding ways to not only honor Black History Month, but encourage positive change all year round. Here's what they're doing, in their own words:
1. Honoring and Celebrating the Black Family — Freddie Mac
"Our ARISE Business Resource Group is hosting several programs and activities throughout Black History Month that celebrate the diversity of the Black family. The month kicks off with a fireside chat about Black wealth and economics featuring Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. Later in the month, Shanti Das, Executive Director of Silence the Shame, Inc., will share the importance of mental health and well-being. We will close the month with a panel discussion on the Black employee experience at Freddie Mac. The discussion will feature stories of empowerment and resilience that celebrate and support employees."
2. Investing in Skills and Scholarships — Facebook
"During Black History Month, Facebook Elevate will host programming with the theme GenerationBlack. Among the activities will be a discussion called #GenBlack is Skilled covering how a new generation of Black professionals can be key contributors to a more inclusive society.
Elevate is a community and learning platform to accelerate the economic impact of entities of color. Elevate is committed over the next 3 years to reaching 1 million Black and 1 million Latinx and Hispanic members of the community with training in digital skills as well as distributing 100,000 scholarships to Black learners working toward digital careers."
3. Planning Virtual Events for the Whole Family — LogMeIn
"At LogMeIn, we will be celebrating Black History Month all month long! Since this year's theme is 'The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity,' our Employee Resource Group, BE@LogMeIn (Black Employees at LogMeIn) will be partnering with our Families ERG (Families@LogMeIn), our Corporate Social Responsibility Program (Mission Possible), and our wellness program (Thrive) to offer engaging, impactful, educational, and fun events all throughout February. We'll be hosting a virtual paint night, virtual volunteering event, discussions with Black authors and publishers, and a fun children's book giveaway as part of our celebrations."
4. Celebrating Black Joy — Moody's
"To kick off our Black History Month celebrations, Moody's will activate our annual Speaker Series and host multiple events that highlight the contributions of the Black community and celebrate Black Joy. Our Black Inclusion Group will be profiling Moody's employees and Black leaders for a weekly, educational newsletter throughout February. In addition, we are producing an employee-led video that shares the importance of Black Joy and cultural/family traditions. Our employees will also be able to choose from an array of Zoom and desktop backgrounds that will display quotes from prominent Black figures."
5. Inspiring, Educating, Engaging—And Investing — ServiceNow
"ServiceNow is honoring Black History Month in the U.S. in February and in Europe in October. We've worked closely with our Black at Now Belonging Group to develop programming that will inspire, educate, and engage employees globally. We have a series of events focused on themes of allyship and intersectionality, which will feature special guest speakers, ServiceNow leaders, and employees in discussion and interactive dialogue. Additionally, we just announced an important piece of our efforts to live our company value, 'embrace diversity, create belonging': a $100M investment in Racial Equity fund, which is focused on building equitable opportunities in underserved Black communities in the U.S."
6. Communicating Inclusively — Clarus
"Here at Clarus we're honoring Black History Month in a couple of ways. Our DEI ERG is encouraging employee conversation by disseminating a companywide email acknowledging BHM and its significance. Additionally, we're promoting employees to be mindful of written communications, specifically in making sure we're using non-biased language.
We continue to partner with WayFinding Partners as they work with us on developing a long-lasting DEI strategy at Clarus. This includes the company partaking in a workshop called 'Let's Talk About Race' — opening our eyes to racism in our society and how we can defeat it."
7. Centering Black Culture and History — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
"For more than 10 years, Blue Cross NC's African-American and Black Employee Network (AABEN) has created meaningful programming for employees each February in honor of Black History Month. The network has hosted various events to celebrate African-American culture through song, dance, poetry and more. Their programming also provides education and awareness. Topics have ranged from historic Black Wall Street in Durham, to a panel of employees sharing how their hair is part of their identity and how corporate America can be more inclusive of cultural differences, to hearing directly from Black leaders who share their career journey and lessons learned."
8. Highlighting Black Luminaries — MongoDB
"To celebrate Black History Month, members of TUPOC — MongoDB's affinity group for people of color — highlight Black luminaries via daily posts in the #black-history Slack channel, a channel that's open year-round but is especially active in February. TUPOC will also honor Black History Month by hosting a company-wide event, and all employees will have access to a cross-company event celebrating Black History."
9. Celebrating and Supporting Black Futures — PagerDuty
"This year, our Black employee resource group at PagerDuty, Array, is approaching Black History Month with the theme 'Black Futures Month: Excellence, Resilience, and Equity.'
Our programming is designed to celebrate Black excellence and highlight our resilience, in order to build an equitable future. We'll be partnering with other employee resource groups representing Black talent across the Tech sector, hosting our first meeting with our first Black board member, Dr. Alec D. Gallimore, fundraising and volunteering with a local middle school of predominantly Black students, and introducing a mentorship program for our Black employees."
10. Empowering Growth and Development — CSL Behring
"CSL Behring will be formally launching the Promising Futures Scholarship mid-February. This scholarship program will award 37 scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 annually.
The program has been specifically set up for our Black colleagues and their dependents to provide financial empowerment and support professional career growth & development."
To learn more about what businesses are doing to celebrate Black History Month, or to get more information on the previously mentioned businesses, visit the blog article at blog.powertofly.com