You found our list of Black History Month ideas for work.
Black History Month is when the US celebrates Black Americans’ contributions and achievements throughout history. For instance, by holding workshops and supporting Black-owned businesses. This month honors Black history and culture in the community and acknowledges the ways that Black team members contribute to company success.
This page includes:
- Black History Month workshop ideas
- workplace ideas for Black History Month
- Black History Month work events
- Black History Month activities for work
Let’s take a look!
List of Black History Month Ideas for Work
1. Support Black-Owned Businesses
If your employees are like most I know, then news of free food in the kitchen travels fast. You can encourage employees to step away from their desks by treating them to breakfast or lunch from a local, Black-owned business. Or, put together a list of Black-owned businesses in your community and remind employees to checkout these spots during February. You can even ask team members to share their experiences on your Slack or Microsoft Teams channels. To find businesses in your area, visit Shop Black-Owned Businesses.
You can also give employees gifts from Black owned businesses. WeBuyBlack is the largest marketplace for Black owned businesses and allows you to search by categories such as health & wellness, games, and entertainment.
2. Organize a Volunteer Event
You can support charitable causes by organizing a volunteer event for your team. Volunteering with a charity that supports the Black community or civil rights movement can be a meaningful way to honor Black history in your area. If you cannot volunteer, then host a fundraiser to raise money to purchase books about Black history and donate them to schools in your area.
3. Sponsor a Charity Fitness Challenge
While gyms fill up on January 1st, New Year’s resolutions tend to fade by the time February rolls around. However, you can help your employees stay active by organizing a free fitness challenge through a site like Map My Run. Simply set a goal such as 10,000 steps a day or three hours of exercise a week and pledge to donate to a charity for every goal met. Also, Charity Navigator offers a list of highly rated charities that benefit Black education, rights, health and community so you can be confident your donations will go to a reputable group.
Here are some additional ideas that can benefit your Wellness Program.
4. Support Local Authors
You can tap into resources within your community by hosting a book reading and Q&A session with a local Black author. Your team will learn about authors in your area they may not otherwise know about. Plus you can give authors the chance to sell copies of their books or purchase those works as employee gifts.
Many libraries and bookstores include a “local authors” section and connect you with authors looking for exposure.
5. Support Local Artists
You can invite a local Black artist to display their work in your office for the month. This gesture provides the artist with a new audience and can be a nice change of scenery for your employees. You could also continue the initiative year-round and invite a different artist to display each month and feature them on your social media pages.
You can find local artists by searching your local Facebook groups or reaching out to small coffee shops that often feature artwork from area artists.
6. Plan an Outing
Your city is likely full of tourist attractions and historical landmarks that you and your employees take for granted. Black History Month can be a great time to explore overlooked locations in your area. A simple Google search can bring up Black History Month events in your city or locations significant to Black history and culture. Plus, getting out of the office for the day can be a fun team building opportunity and a means of learning more about your community.
If your team is not in the office, check out virtual team building ideas for your remote based workforce.
7. Spotlight Black Employees in Your Company
Featuring accomplishments in Black history and your local community is important but do not forget about your own team! As you look at Black History Month workshop ideas, keep in mind that your employees make your company what it is, and take this time to highlight what makes them special. You can invite your Black employees to share their personal professional stories, or reflect on what Black History Month means to them. Then, share these stories in company wide emails, internal blog posts, or on your social media platforms.
8. Highlight Your Company’s Black History
You can recognize the Black employees who have been a part of your organization in the past and helped to make it what it is today. Sharing success stories from employees who are important to your company’s history can inspire junior team members, especially when they see successful people who started where they are.
9. Share Information About Health Concerns
While diseases and health conditions can affect anyone, the Black community is at higher risk for certain conditions. Heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are just a few of the conditions your Black employees may be more susceptible to than their peers. Raising awareness about these risk factors can help employees understand symptoms to watch out for and steps to lower their risk.
You can reach out to your medical insurance provider and ask for information about common conditions and available services that can help. Many insurance companies offer free health coaching or preventive programs that can help lower the risk of these diseases but are often overlooked by members. This approach ensures your employees are aware of benefits included on the company health plans and how to benefit from these programs.
The CDC has information about the specific health concerns of the Black community.
10. Hold a Book Club
There are many biographies about notable Black leaders or fictional novels written about Black history. You can ask employees for suggestions or choose a title to feature in a book club for the month. Not only will employees get to read a good book, but the resulting discussion can open the door for interesting and important conversations. Book club discussions can happen in person, virtually or through a Slack or Microsoft Teams channel.
Here are some suggestions of titles for Black History Month:
- Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019– Spanning 400 years, this novel features 90 writers sharing stories from The White Lion bringing the first Africans to Virginia to the Black Lives Matter movement
- Becoming– For a more modern focus, consider this personal memoir from Michelle Obama. Obama reflects on her childhood, her role as a mother, her public health campaign and her experience as the first Black First Lady of the United States.
- The Underground Railroad– This Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Colson Whitehead follows the fictional story of Cora, a slave on a plantation in Georgia. The story follows her as she escapes and travels through multiple states in the hopes of finding freedom.
Check out this list of books on diversity and inclusion.
11. Host a Teleparty
Not every event has to take place during work hours. When you want to be mindful of your employees’ personal time, a simple and relaxing option is to host a Teleparty. First, browse your favorite streaming platform for a movie that focuses on important events in Black history or features a Black cast and culture. Teleparty allows your team to synchronize playback and includes a chat feature where people can discuss the movie as they watch. By hosting your Teleparty in the evening, employees also have the chance to include their family members in their watch session!
Visit Teleparty to learn more.
12. Black History Month Trivia
You can tap into your team’s competitive spirit by having a Black History Month trivia contest. This activity can be as simple as sending out a list of trivia questions or as involved as hosting a competition with teams and an audience. Whatever method you choose, take the opportunity to educate your employees on the importance and significance of Black History Month.
The AARP has a Black History Month Quiz that can be a great place to start!
13. Share Information about Black history on Slack or Microsoft Teams
Feel free to share Black History Month facts on your Slack, Teams or other messaging programs. You can educate your employees by sharing a fact of the day about the origins or significance of Black History Month, or about notable figures worth celebrating. You can also ask employees to share information they have learned or how they celebrate Black History Month in their lives. Visit History.com to find some facts your employees may not know.
14. Utilize Your Employee Assistance Program
Most people hear EAP and think of counseling services or mental health support. However, many EAPs also offer webinars, in-person trainings, and seminars at low or no additional cost. Be sure to reach out to your EAP and request information about programs surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion or ask for advice about honoring Black History Month in your workplace. Including the EAP in your plans can also open the door for employees to access services they may be missing out on.
Check out other employee benefits & perks.
15. Host an Employee Storytelling Event
Supporting the community and sharing facts about Black History Month are important, and you can create an even greater impact by making things personal. Storytelling events can encourage Black employees to share personal stories with peers. The employees can discuss childhood or workplace experiences involving race, explain the culture’s role in their lives, or share stories about what Black History Month means to them. You can host an in-person event, share videos of storytellers, or have the subjects write a post for your company intranet. Whatever method you choose, focus on your team and let them share stories in their own words.
16. Create a Zoom Background
The regularity of Zoom meetings in virtual offices can provide the opportunity to celebrate Black History Month, all month long. For example, create a custom background promoting Black History Month and encourage employees to use it for internal and external meetings. A gesture as simple as having a background available can go a long way in raising awareness and helping your employees feel supported.
17. Establish an Employee Resource Group
As you look at workplace ideas for Black History Month, you can also incorporate options that will be beneficial long term. Conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion can be tricky to navigate but Employee Resource Groups help create a safe space to discuss these subjects. ERGs are voluntary groups that seek to promote diversity within your organization. If you do not have a group in place, then Black History Month can be the perfect opportunity to create one.
The first step in creating your group is to find a senior leader to sponsor the group. Next, the sponsor should invite all interested employees to join, either as a member or an ally, and encourage participants to take the lead on group efforts. Your ERG can help identify challenges employees face, raise awareness on issues, and provide employees with a peer to bring concerns to. Depending on the size of your organization, you can create one ERG focused on diversity as a whole or multiple groups based on different cultures within your team.
Check out some ERG best practices.
18. Remove Bias from Recruiting
Black History Month can be a great time to recognize the role unconscious bias plays in your hiring practices. While hiring managers may have every intention of hiring based solely on skill, it is natural to form an opinion based on initial impressions or past experiences. When reviewing a candidate’s resume or application, you may unintentionally enact a bias based on their name, the year they graduated or even the town they live in. These factors should not play a role in whether someone could be a good fit for a position.
In honor of Black History Month, remove as much bias from the hiring process as possible. For instance, use software that shares the details of a candidate’s skills and job history but hides everything else. If you do not have access to this type of technology, then have your recruiters remove this information before sharing potential candidates with a hiring manager.
Removing bias early in the hiring process can ensure you bring in the best candidates based primarily on skill. This gesture can go a long way in making sure minority applicants do not face the same types of prejudice figures from Black history have been fighting against for years.
19. Use Social Media
Social media is often one of the first places potential employees and clients will look to learn more about your company. You can use your social media platforms to highlight the Black History Month work events your team is taking part in! For example, share videos from your storytellers series, post your fact of the day to Facebook, and highlight the authors and artists in your area who have taken part in your events.
You might even want to build a page on your company website dedicated to Black History Month and all the activities your team has taken part in. You can create a banner that links to this page and ask employees to add it to their email signature for February. Sharing all you have done is a great way to raise awareness about the importance of Black history and what it means to your organization.
20. Include Black History Month in Your Learning & Development Courses
If your company has a catalog of training courses available, then make sure those courses include Diversity, Equity & Inclusion resources. Classes can range from informational topics such as what Black History Month is, to training on handling cultural differences in the workplace. Be sure to identify the role DE&I plays within your organization and include the information in new hire and new manager training.
21. Continue to Celebrate Throughout the Year!
While Black History Month is an important time to focus on these relevant ideas, that does not mean you should stop your efforts on March 1st! It is important to address cultural differences within your organization throughout the year, not just during holidays. The more you incorporate diversity and cultural differences within your workforce, the more supported employees feel.
Black History Month is a chance for employees to understand and honor the role Black culture has played in forming our country and it is your chance to support the cultural identity of your team members. Your employees are the heart of your organization, and you should make every effort to celebrate what makes them unique!
FAQ: Black History Month in the workplace
Here are a few common questions and answers about Black History Month in the workplace.
What is Black History Month?
Black History Month is an occasion held annually in February that pays tribute to the Black community’s struggles and contributions throughout history. This occasion is also known as African American History Month.
Should we address race in the workplace?
Race and culture can be a tricky topic to address. However, studies show that ignoring cultural differences can lead to employee disengagement.
While race and culture should not play a role in how you treat individuals within your organization, you can celebrate heritage and unique perspectives. Learning more about other cultures can help employees feel more connected to each other and more accepting of others’ differences, resulting in a richer work environment for all team members.
How do we decide which Black History Month ideas are best for our team?
Your employees are your best resource. As you plan Black History Month events for your team, ask which topics, and activities interest team members. If you have an Employee Resource Group already, then this group can be your first stop. If not, then set up a voluntary committee of employees who want to organize company-wide events and celebrations.
How can we honor all cultures throughout the year?
One way to incorporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in your workplace is asking employees to share meaningful details. For example, create a company recipe book and ask your team to share their favorite family recipe along with a story about the significance of the dish. You can even host a potluck lunch where employees bring the meal to the office to share!
During company observed holidays, ask employees to share their holiday traditions to your Slack or Teams channel, and honor non-mainstream holidays. Offering Floating Holidays for employees to use on chosen holidays can go a long way in supporting your team.
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