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“I’m not black,” a white leader whispered to me in the hallway last year. “Should I attend a Black History Month event?”
This is the question I get asked most often about leading and celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. Black History Month.
As February rolls in, some form of white leader quietly approaches me. am i invited? should i attend? do i come alone Or would you like to invite my team to attend? who else?
My answer is always yes. You should definitely attend Black History Month events. I usually have a few questions like:
To all the white leaders reading this who have the same thought in their heads and are hesitant to say it out loud, let me share with you what I said to that leader.
I hope you’re not the only white person attending your company’s Black History Month event. And if you are the only one, it gives you a chance to feel a little bit of what many of our black colleagues have gone through for most of their lives: spaces and places where they are the only people. to go into.
Why should I attend Black History Month events?
Because we need white leaders, not just people who sign pledges, post #BlackLivesMatter on social channels, and read. Robin D’Angelo White brittleness. We need white leaders to understand the experience of being black in an organization. Participating in Black History Month is one of the many steps he can take for his black colleagues.
1. Start self-development
It is not the job of our Black colleagues to continually educate us about the racial inequalities that exist in our communities and workplaces. , is insulting and exhausting for black colleagues. As the lead of the DEI effort, you are constantly being asked to provide resources, education and coaching to your leaders. The Black History Month event is a great opportunity for everyone we work with to understand the importance of this month, celebrate our Black colleagues, and provide a great opportunity to learn about the issues and challenges facing our Black community. I would like you to remember
2. Bring Others on Your Trip
Invite others to join you for Black History Month events. If you lead a team, get everyone on board. Block the time on your calendar and avoid scheduling other meetings for the attendees. It’s a great opportunity to learn together as a team, continue the dialogue after the event, and build team friendships.
If you haven’t managed a team yet, invite your colleagues to join. Let your boss know you will be attending, hoping that he will attend as well. Don’t just forward the invitation, send a personal note like this: I am on a journey to learn how to be a better ally and educate myself. Join me for this upcoming Black History Month event. We’ll be expecting you.
3. Grow your network
There is an increasing focus on building strong external talent pipelines to attract more black talent to the team. Organizations understand and want to implement quickly. looney rule, Diverse panel and so many recruitment processes.
Still, how often do you discover black talent inside? Do you make time to meet talent outside your immediate team or network? Use this as an opportunity to expand. Many of these events are no longer live, but please continue to stay in touch and build relationships with your colleagues after the event.
You can send a thank you note to the person who organized the event to share what you learned, then request Virtual Coffee Connect to continue the conversation. When you meet with that colleague, ask them to invite you to meet with other members of your company’s Black Employee Resource Group. Be sincere and purposeful about building and continuing to grow these relationships.
4. Support black employee resource groups
Use this as an opportunity to get to know our Black Employee Resource Group leaders. It’s not just about attending events. Take the time to get to know them and help build the group. Increase your budget and offer to host your next event. Step up and lead the logistics and coordination for that event. Finally, step up and connect with other leaders in your organization that you might otherwise not have access to.
What if your company has never hosted Black History Month? What if there are no events to attend? what can you do Start with a meeting with your leadership and HR team. Ask why there are no events and what you and they can do together to change that.
5. Remember Black History Month is just the beginning
Black History Month should not be treated as a tick-box exercise. Just because he attended doesn’t mean he’s fulfilled his promise to support the community into 2021. It’s just the beginning.Show up every day, stand up at key moments, and intervene when you witness a black co-worker I have experienced racism.
White leaders, we cannot make our organization more racially equitable without you. If this Black History Month is the first step in your journey, we embrace it. Because you have to start somewhere.