October 1st marks the beginning of Black History Month 2023, widely regarded as one of the most prominent cultural celebrations of the year. Honouring the contributions made to society by people of Black heritage and their communities, Black History Month is a time to educate and enrich the world with the importance of Black history. It provides an opportunity to recognise the impact of Black culture on society, honour historical figures, and raise awareness about social and racial issues that continue to affect Black people.
Celebrating Black History Month in the workplace is a meaningful endeavour that promotes inclusivity, diversity, and cultural awareness. It provides an opportunity for organisations to acknowledge the historical contributions and achievements of Black individuals while fostering an environment of respect and understanding. It’s important to celebrate the contributions of everyone in our communities and support the multiculturalism and diversity that shaped them.
The theme this year for Black History Month 2023 is ‘Black Resistance’, recognising the ways in which Black people have resisted oppression, discrimination, and prejudice throughout history. This month we celebrate Black people across generations whose resilience and courage became a driving force of change and advancement in every aspect of society, all while enduring centuries of trauma and injustices that continue to persist In our world today.
Black History Month 2023 History - Why is it Important?
People from many different backgrounds come together during this month to celebrate the positive role of Black people in shaping our communities. Over the years the focus of Black History Month has expanded its coverage to include the history of African, Asian, and Caribbean people and their contributions to Britain's ‘Island story’. Black History Month in the UK was first officially celebrated in 1987, which coincided with the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation of slavery and the 25th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity.
After visiting America in the 1970s, Ghanaian-born Akyaaba Addai-Sebo, a special projects officer at the Greater London Council (GLC), founded the UK’s version of Black History Month in 1987. Black History Month has been celebrated across the UK ever since, with more and more people celebrating each year. It is an important time of the year where we can spend time learning more about the contributions of Black, African, and Caribbean people so we can better appreciate and understand each other. Celebrating Black History Month doesn’t only have to be in October either – taking the opportunity to learn more about Black history throughout the year, listening to your black colleagues, service users, friends, and family is so important and will go some way in making society a more equal and appreciative place.
Studies revealed that 60% of Black professionals still experience racism in the workplace, so a key motivator behind Black History Month is to highlight how people from such communities have made pivotal contributions to society. It has also been reported that 25% of people find that assumptions are made about their abilities, character, or behaviour due to their race. Such statistics emphasise the importance of Black History Month as the event brings to light how Black people are both uncredited in our history books and undervalued in the workplace.
How to Participate in Black History Month 2023?
Black History Month 2023 is an opportunity for HR to collaborate with their people to promote an understanding of the month’s history by creating thoughtful programming that celebrates Black cultures and fosters inclusivity.
Here are a few ways in which you can participate this year:
Organise Educational Workshops
Organising educational workshops during Black History Month is a powerful way to foster awareness, promote understanding, and celebrate the rich history of Black individuals. These workshops offer a platform for employees to delve into a range of topics as well as allow organisers to identify knowledgeable and passionate speakers who can lead these workshops. Research shows 87% of millennials believe learning and development in the workplace is important. That’s why encouraging inclusivity and following up with feedback collection ensures that the workshops contribute to a workplace culture that values diversity, inclusivity, and ongoing learning, extending the impact of Black History Month throughout the year.
Lunch and Learn
Lunch and learn sessions provide a convenient and engaging platform for employees to expand their knowledge and engage in discussions during their lunch breaks. These sessions are not only an excellent way to promote learning but also encourages team bonding and open dialogue within the workplace. By scheduling a series of lunch and learn sessions, you create a valuable opportunity for employees to explore various topics, including those related to diversity and inclusion.
Historical displays are a visually engaging way to educate and inspire employees about Black history and the contributions of Black individuals throughout the year. These displays offer a continuous reminder of the importance of acknowledging and celebrating diversity. By setting up historical displays in common areas of the workplace, you create a space where employees can explore and learn about significant events, milestones, and notable figures related to Black history. Rotating or updating displays periodically keeps the content fresh and relevant, ensuring that the workplace remains as an educational and inclusive environment.
Spotlight Employee Stories
Regularly featuring employee stories, whether that be through internal newsletters, company-wide emails, or dedicated events, showcases the diverse talent and contributions within the organisation. Moreover, it allows employees to connect on a personal level, building stronger relationships and a sense of community.
Black History Month is made even more impactful through the dedication of numerous organisations that actively contribute to its celebration and educational efforts, championing awareness and equality.
How Can Wellity Support You?
Here at Wellity our session ‘A.C.T. Now – Driving Anti-Racist Culture Transformation’ is designed to empower individuals in navigating crucial conversations about race, ethnicity, and heritage. Participants will gain confidence in discussing topics around race and learn the essential skills needed to foster an anti-racist working culture. They will discover actionable steps to embrace diverse cultural influences and communicate respectfully.
Learn the difference between race, ethnicity, culture, and heritage.
Discover what culture means and how it influences us.
Learn types of racism and transitional steps to anti-racism.
Explore how to talk to someone about culture, race, heritage, ethnicity, and more.
Identify what to do if you get it wrong.
Lear how to stay alert and reduce our unconscious biases.
For any information on this session or others we offer surrounding Black History Month 2023, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.