At its worst, corporate celebrations of Black History Month can feel patronizing and performative. Or they can raise valid questions about why diverse contributions are only being recognized and celebrated one month out of the year. At its best, however companies use Black History Month to showcase stories that have been learned and shared throughout the year, just as Carter Woodson, who conceived the month-long celebration, intended. Unearthing, celebrating, and learning from these stories can also:
highlight those whose contributions may otherwise go unnoticed
provide role models for employees and leaders, especially those from under-represented communities
help organizations understand what some have had to overcome to make the contributions they did, and identify the barriers to success that may still exist
Above all, a thoughtful reflection on the stories of underrepresented communities can help organizations understand what more must be done in order to realize the promise of a truly diverse and inclusive workforce.
Arielle Gorin is a Saybrook Senior Consultant. She is currently at work on an anniversary campaign for a leading multi-family office. This post originally appeared on Saybrook's LinkedIn page.