What Black History Month Means to Me as told by Austin SHRM President Billie Wright
Many years ago, a colleague asked me if I would like to submit an article about Black History Month to share with employees across the organization. The story could be about pioneers such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Frederick Douglas and the like. These are people that history has highlighted over the decades so we are familiar with the works and deeds of these individuals. Or, the story could be about my own history. I decided to write about my own Black history, and I hope you are as amazed by it as I am each and every day of my life.
Austin SHRM wants those in spaces where you are the only one…we ask you to think about how do you introduce people to Black History Month and help them celebrate the culture?
1) Organize a fundraising event that positively impacts individuals who identify as Black;
2) Support local Black and minority owned businesses;
3) Start a book club and read stories from authors who share their voice and experience as a non-white human;
4) Share Black history information on Slack, LinkedIn, and any other platform you utilize;
5) Collaborate with a local organizations that seek to educate and uplift Black people: NAACP, Black fraternities and/or sororities, cultural and activity centers;
6) Continue to show up as your authentically awesome self and celebrate who you are and the adversity you had the courage and tenacity to overcome.
Black History is Our History and just like your story, it deserves to be shared all year.
For those who may be working virtually and wondering how do I celebrate virtually with my co-workers Black History Month?
Austin SHRM wants to share some ideas with you on activities you can do with your team in the month of February and even year-around!
Here are some ideas for you:
1) You can always host an interactive Black History team building exercise by conducting a live virtual tour of a prominent leader, for example, Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth home and learn more about his history via a virtual tour. If interested click here for more info:
2) Have your team pick a Black Artist for your next ZOOM/Teams call to explore. This is way to take your meeting to another fun musical level. It is an option for your team to learn about various artists in the history of Black America music. Create your team black history month playlist.
3) Purchase breakfast or lunch at a black owned restaurant. Click here for a list of restaurants in Austin:
4) Work with your marketing team and share inspiring black history month quotes from Black historical figures, authors, musicians, and visual artists. Get people across your company involved, regardless of race or background. Ask them to submit their favorite quotes maybe with a portrait.
February is known for paying tribute to generations of African Americans who have faced adversity issues in America. Black History is a month-long celebration that gives Americans a chance to reflect on the History of African-Americans and their achievements down to the struggles they endured to this day. Austin SHRM asks you to spend this time celebrating and honoring those who have led the way for others!
Six ways to celebrate black history month:
1. Support Black-Owned Businesses
2. Learn About Black Historical and Present Figures and Their Contributions
3. Donate to Charities That Support Anti-Racism Equity and Equality
4. Purchase, Read, and Share Books by Black Authors:
5. Support and learn about black women6. Participate and learn online: National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
OTHER GREAT RESOURCES: