The Perfect Message of Diversity: Black History Month

Morgan Freeman in one of his interviews disregarded the concept of Black History Month. He emphasized that Black History is American History and can’t be curtailed in just a month. But apart from Morgan Freeman’s rejection, Black History Month (National American African History Month) stands for so much more. It highlights the importance of Diversity in America, today.

The observance of Black History Month pays tribute to the struggle for equality by African Americans. It was Dr. Carter Woodson, who first observed the Negro History Week in February 1926 through the initiatives of his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).  It was in 1976, that ASALH observed Black History Month; the move was supported by President Ford, who issued his first message on observance of Black History Month.

Paying Tribute to the struggle for equal opportunity by African Americans, makes us realize the importance of building a diverse culture even at work place. Gary Smith, founder and senior partner of Ivy Planning Group, states in one his articles, Create Context for Black History Month Celebration; meaningful ways to celebrate Black History Month.

Let’s talk about some of the ways through which HR managers and executives can add meaning to the Black History Month this year and the years to come:

Have a clear mindset. What do you want to take from this month? A better understanding of the contributions of African Americans or of the African American Culture.
Take the opportunity to build conversations; to build a bond. At the root of observing Black History Months is to foster authentic bonds and dialogues.
Link celebrations to a bigger goal. Highlight through communications the importance of diverse workforce and the benefit the organization could have through their involvement. Building this link and thought process could help in highlighting why diversity is important.
It is necessary that the lessons and information gained through this month be included in the work culture. An important question that needs to be answered is, how will this effect or influence what you do after this month?
Going back to what Morgan Freeman said, it might be just a month, and it is not right to wrap it around just a month, but Black History Month emphasizes the importance of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. We should definitely not restrict to just a month, but should engulf and embrace the lessons to modify and to define our actions henceforth.

Amy Jackson
Amy Jackson is a freelance recruiter working assisting companies in advertising and promoting their job oepnings through varioius free.