Celebrating Black History Month certainly looks a bit different this year. Even though many organizations have gone remote and there are a lot less in-person interactions, it just means that companies have to get more creative in finding ways to honor this historic month.
There are a number of things that employers and employees alike can do to bring awareness to the contributions of Black people in this country, while also showcasing their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in a meaningful way. Below, we’ve detailed some of the things we’re doing at Greenhouse to help get you started.
Host a virtual kickoff celebration for Black employees
One of the most obvious (and most fun) ways to celebrate and show appreciation for your Black employees is with a virtual party. Whether it’s a lunch-time kickback or an all-out, after-work event, your kickoff celebration should be lively. Create an energetic playlist, encourage everyone to get fancy, expense a meal and have a good time.
Provide career resources to Black employees
This should certainly be happening all year long, but Black History Month is a great time to get started. At Greenhouse, we’re excited to announce our new partnership with Black Professionals in Tech Network (BPTN) to give our members free access to their master classes, a global networking Slack channel and other resources to advance in their careers.
We are also working with Yonae Rolle (Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Trainer and Engagement Lead) of BPTN to help Greenhouse staff understand the experiences of Black professionals at work and how to become an engaged ally through “Lean In” sessions.
Promote engaging virtual events
Take the time to schedule events and programming that are designed to educate and inform your entire employee population. Opt for a mix of events that are inclusive for all employees and help create bonds and inspire action, but be sure to also have events that are specifically designated for your Black employees as a safe space to connect.
At Greenhouse, we’re promoting, supporting and attending these:
- BPTN’s masterclass: From Black history to black future
- Understanding the Black experience and becoming an ally
- Diversity best practices: 2021 Black History Month
Host a Netflix Teleparty
Black History Month is all about sharing experiences with each other. A Netflix Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) is a great way to bring your employees together with a more relaxed vibe. Of course, you’ll want to pick a movie that’s both entertaining and informative. At Greenhouse, we’ll be watching One Night in Miami. Like the stage play by Kemp Powers it’s based on, the film focuses on a fictional account of four very real Black legends and their iconic roles in the Civil Rights movement.
Create a custom Zoom background
Create a custom Zoom background to help with awareness and to create a sense of unity and support. This is also a great opportunity to show your external community how invested you are in promoting diversity and inclusivity.
Host local and regional events
If your company has more than one office, stay inclusive by creating virtual events specific to those different regions – relating to both time zone and content. At Greenhouse, our San Francisco office is full of trivia fiends, so they’re hosting a virtual Black History Month trivia night highlighting pioneers and leaders from Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to go into space, to Thurgood Marshall, monumental civil rights leader and the first African American US Supreme Court Justice.
It’s important to remember that whether or not Black History Month is a priority at your company, you can still take action and empower your team, friends and family to celebrate on a more personal level. From supporting Black-owned businesses to donating to anti-racism initiatives or even sharing educational resources on social media, there are many ways to show support not just this month, but all year round.
Provide educational books
Educate the teams that opt into any of your events by sending them some important literature. Greenhouse employees who attend any of our Black History Month workshops will be receiving a copy of Ijeoma Oluo’s powerful bestseller So You Want to Talk About Race. Offering compelling content for continued learning creates the space for continued education in a collective way. We’ll also be hosting events focused on the book later in the year to keep our community engaged.
Share Black history fun facts on Slack
We’re sharing facts about Black history in our #diversity channel. These facts focus on some familiar (Shirley Chisholm) and maybe not so familiar (Zumbi Dos Pamares) icons who have positively shaped the trajectory of Black people across the world. Using Slack is an opportunity to provide quick snippets and photos while linking out to more in-depth resources for those who want to learn more.
See more ideas
Looking for more ways to celebrate Black History Month? Here are a few more ideas.