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Celebrating Black History today and every day.

January 31, 2022
6.2 minute read

February marks Black History Month and the theme for 2022 is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day.

Black History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge Black history, and the myriad of ways Black communities contribute to our society. This is also an opportunity to reflect on the challenges that Black communities face and reaffirm our commitment to addressing anti-Black racism and systemic inequities.   

As we celebrate this month, it needs to go hand-in-hand with examining our organizational policies and practices to ensure accountability and a commitment to removing anti-Black systemic and institutional racism. 

This blog will provide you with tips on how to meaningfully commemorate Black History Month and implement inclusion strategies within your organization. Please note that this blog isn’t meant to be an exhaustive guide and only provides a brief overview. We encourage readers to use the linked resources below for further learning. 

How To Commemorate Black History Month Within Your Organization 

Education | Collaboration | Inclusion

The first step is education. Organize workshops, activities or other learning opportunities for your organization to raise awareness about Black history and excellence. Create spaces for intentional and focused conversations that recognize Black history, achievement and contributions – past and present. This is also an opportunity to facilitate workshops to create learning and reflection spaces on the realities Black Candians face regarding anti-Black racism and discrimination. 

To go beyond hosting workshops, organizations can honor Black History Month by collaborating with Black Businesses, diversifying your suppliers, donating to local non-profit organizations that work towards racial justice and using your social media to elevate Black voices by sharing their content. 

It’s also a great time to reflect on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work you are doing and assess whether it is having its intended impact. Organizations that can foster a culture of belonging and inclusion see higher rates of employee engagement. In fact, this correlation between belonging and higher engagement is stronger for equity seeking groups. An important consideration here is to also create safe spaces for employees to process current events. Employees’ lives at work don’t exist in a vacuum and are impacted by current events, so creating a safe space for reflection and ensuring accommodations as needed is an important way to ensure employees are supported.

Read more about why a culture of belonging matters here.

Creating Anti-Racist Organizations:

(Continuously) Learn | Assess | Act

Take this month to reflect honestly about your organization’s existing policies, procedures and practices. As you take these workshops, how are we implementing the learnings to ensure that we are removing institutional and systemic barriers that limit the participation and advancement of equity seeking groups? Adopting a practice of continuously learning, assessing and taking action is an excellent way to propel your organization forward. 

Assess your workplace with a demographic survey. This will allow you to understand the makeup of your organization, the diversity at different levels and across the wage ranges. Following this assessment, create clear goals with accountability measures in place that ensure its progress. 

After you have a complete understanding of the makeup of your organization, consider whether your organization reflects and takes into account the interests of diverse people in its operations, products, and services. Ask yourself if the products and services you provide are impacting different groups of people differently and whether you can provide these products and services in a more inclusive way. 

All of these practices will require a proper allocation of resources. Be it allocating enough resources to provide your staff with learning opportunities about  anti-racism, or hiring a DEI consultant to perform a workplace audit, or creating mentorship and professional development opportunities for racialized colleagues, ensure that your DEI strategy is supported by proper allocation of resources. 

Dive in further with the following resources: 

Events:

  • Join The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for our virtual  Black History Month Workshop “Taking Action Towards Anti-Racism” on Tuesday, February 8, 2022 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. *Free for members to attend* Register Here

We hope that you have found these resources, events and guides useful . We remind you to ensure a commitment to continuous learning and action within your organization that does not stop at the end of February but continues year-round. 

You can find our list of CODE Events here or visit our CODE Resource Hub here to support your DEI journey.


Written by Sanjana Vijayann, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce