Commemorating Black History Month in 2021

ACCP Staff

Consumer expectations that companies contribute to society has increased following last year’s COVID-19 pandemic, racial equity reckoning, and economic crisis. 80% of Americans say companies need to recognize their role in systemic racial inequality and own up to missteps or past mistakes.1 60% of employees believe their company does not have effective diversity and inclusion programs.2

This Black History Month, racial justice is at the forefront of our social conscience and dialogue and while equity, diversity and inclusion has surged to the leading topic of interest among CSR professionals3, we know that more work is needed to create social justice within our companies and communities.

For employers, Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the many contributions Black citizens have made to society, and specifically among employees, to the company’s progress. Black History Month is also a time to challenge ourselves to eliminate the structures in place that have permitted the continued presence of systemic racism.

So, how is your company creating opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Several ACCP member companies have stepped up to the plate to do just that. Here are some examples we are excited to share:

• Comcast has launched its RISE (Representation, Investment, Strength, Empowerment) initiative. The first phase will focus on Black-owned businesses, with a grant to more than 200 in the Greater Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware region to receive marketing and technology resources and makeovers.

• Home Depot’s Retool Your School grant program is doubling its commitment to $1 million to HBCU campus improvement grants. To date, the program has provided more than $3.1 million for 87% of the nation’s HBCUs to complete 117 sustainable campus improvement projects.

On the personal side, how are you taking a stand against racism? How will you commemorate Black History Month, not just in February but all year long?

Here are some ideas you can use to educate yourself and others on systemic racism and resources you can use to celebrate Black History Month. Please share with your co-workers and staff. These are just a few, but you can find more ideas here courtesy of the NAACP.

Read a book about anti-racism – preferably one by a Black author
Get involved with an organization in your community that’s making a difference, such as Black Lives Matter or the National Black Child Development Institute 
Donate to an HBCU or Black organization 
Volunteer with NMAAHC, National Archives, or the Freedmen’s Bureau project at the Smithsonian
Read Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech
Support the black media, black press and the NNPA 
Stream a TV show or movie that showcase Black stories or highlights Black creators.

In addition to the above list, we invite you to visit the following websites, read more information on Black History Month and ways you can celebrate and commemorate Black history makers, and understand more about the importance of diversity and inclusion:

National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC
Southern Poverty Law Center
NAACP
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Resources to Fight Racism and Unconscious Bias
Solidarity with Black Communities and Systems Change: How to Respond Now and Later

Perhaps most importantly, ensure diverse perspectives are part of the information you consume on a regular basis. What ways are you or your company celebrating and recognizing Black History Month? Please share and let us know.

1 Porter Novelli (2020)
2 Center for Talent Innovation (2019)
3 ACCP (2020)