By Jennifer Jacobus, PHRca, SDEA Director of HR Services
A lot can be said about dedicating a single month to Black History (or any minority group’s history for that matter). Questions that arise may be, is it enough? Why just a month? I’m sure many could argue, and rightfully so, that we’re not doing enough as a society to recognize the many benefits of our national diversity.
America celebrates Black history during the shortest month of the year. In February, we learn about the civil rights struggle of Dr. Martin Luther King along with other black Americans that stood up for the cause of equality. We get a glimpse of exciting moments, but it doesn’t show us the entire game.
So, what can you do in your company? Be aware of the various backgrounds represented – or underrepresented – in your workplace. Show flexibility; examine your assumptions, prejudices and stereotypes (we all have them); explore different cultures; show patience in communicating and understanding; admit unfamiliarity of diverse customs along with a willingness to learn more about them; show respect for ideas different from your own; avoid stereotypical jokes/humor; see the humanity in every person.
You can also “do the work”. What to research? Quakers 1688, Jim Crow Laws, Redlining, Black Wall Street, Manhattan Beach, Seneca Village, and “The Lone Ranger” for starters. Get to know these people: Maya Angelou, Claudette Colvin, Henrietta Lacks, Bernard Harris, Jr., William S. Reeves, Chaz Bono, Harvey Milk, RuPaul, and Janet Mock.
If your company is struggling with how to implement diversity and inclusion into your workplace, SDEA can help. We offer training that is specifically customized to your company needs. Whether you are just getting started, you have a DEI team and want to have a fresh viewpoint, or you want to include us as your strategic partner in your DEI efforts, give us a call, invest in your team, 858-505-0024.