One of the most important months of the year is here. February marks Black History Month, a time to celebrate and honor African American history and culture within your business, regardless of your race and nationality.
Black History Month was first celebrated as Negro History Week by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. He chose the second week of February to align with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass — two key supporters of abolishing slavery. In 1976, President Gerald Ford extended the celebration to the entire month of February to honor the accomplishments of Black Americans throughout history. Since then, every U.S. president has celebrated Black History Month in February.
Representation and Celebration Matters
As a small business owner, this month marks your opportunity to support different cultures and recognize the heritage of your customers and employees. Black History Month aims to honor and remember important people and events in the African American community; participating in commemorative events helps strengthen your community involvement and honor those who have done much to break down barriers and move toward equality.
How to Celebrate in the Workplace
With a whole month to celebrate, there are plenty of opportunities to honor Black History Month. Consider these options:
- Seek out and support Black-owned businesses. Find local Black-owned businesses to partner with or highlight to your customers. Community support is one of the biggest needs of the 3.12 million Black-owned small businesses in the U.S. Partnering with and supporting Black-owned businesses increases opportunities and helps expand the reach of all small businesses. There are many ways to do this. The theme of Black History Month 2024 is African Americans and the Arts, which can provide a jumping-off point for your partnership. Perhaps you can connect with an African American artist to create limited-edition packaging for your products, a new song for your brand, or an updated commercial or storefront.
- Educate your employees about Black History Month. Many people are unaware of the roots of Black History Month and the many figures who have shaped the culture and the Civil Rights movement. Invite and encourage your employees (and yourself) to dig into the rich history of Black history across the entire country and within your local community. You can attend a Black History Month event as a company, visit a local museum highlighting the contributions of African Americans, host a discussion about a Black history book, join a virtual webinar — the possibilities for learning and growth are endless. You can also take advantage of resources for Black entrepreneurs through the U.S. Small Business Administration and other groups or share the tools with other business owners who could benefit.
- Donate to an African American nonprofit organization. Is there a local organization boosting the Black community or a group impacting your community or customers? Consider making a donation of money, time, or resources. Your small business can donate a percentage of its profits in February to the organization, or you could round up purchases to make a donation or host a drive to collect money or needed items for a local group.
- Volunteer as a company. Gather your employees to volunteer in your community. Even if you are small in numbers, your impact can still be felt. Look for organizations in your area that support the Black community. Find a cause that matters to your employees and community, and get involved to make a difference. Black History Month can be the beginning of a longer-term volunteer commitment.
Celebrating Black History Month with respect may help create an inclusive and nondiscriminatory workplace culture and build an environment that welcomes and supports employees and customers of all cultures and backgrounds. There are plenty of ways to celebrate and honor Black History Month in a way that matches your company. Don’t miss your chance to celebrate this important month!
Disclaimer: Fundbox and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.