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Lessons Learned During Black History Month

February, the shortest month of the year, has come and gone again this year.  I saw some pretty amazing and meaningful content. Rikeshia Davidson and Lisa Hurley for example, did a phenomenal job of providing information that was truly profound in their posts on LinkedIn. But overall, I didn’t see as much as I thought that I would.  In the last couple of years, I’d seen a bit of an uptick in information about Black History floating around. Perhaps that is what started the Anti-Black History movement that caused 44 states to introduce bills that limits how teachers can discuss racism. It goes without saying that Black History can’t be properly discussed without discussing racism. How do you explain to someone what a Jim Crow law was without saying that this nation was racist, as displayed by the Supreme Court handing down rulings that upheld white supremacy? You can’t.

For 28 days there was an opportunity for people to help educate and inform others about Black History. To those who did, thank you. Typically, I do some education outside of LinkedIn and blog posts because I do inclusion work, but this year I wasn’t asked to speak once. In contrast, as of today, 8 days into Women’s History Month, I have already been asked by 4 companies to speak about women in leadership. A company that I love sent out an email yesterday about Women’s History Month. However, while they showcased Black-owned companies last month, there was no email about Black History Month that went out to their customers.

In 2021 there were multiple articles and such about the monumental and global impact of George Floyd’s murder. How many have you seen so far this year? I’m not sure when there was a change and monumental only meant 2 years, but I’m beginning to feel similarly to Renee Graham. Has the racial reckoning faded? Am I alone in wondering why, at a time that Black History is being erased, so many people stayed silent for the entire month of February?   I wanted to find out from other leaders what they learned during Black History Month. Here is what I learned:

Lessons Learned During Black History Month

From understanding the power of appreciation to keeping up to date with thought leaders, here are six answers to the question, “What were your biggest lessons learned during Black History Month?”

  • Showing Appreciation Matters
  • Honoring Black Struggles and Achievements
  • Amplifying Black Voices
  • Recognizing Outstanding Black Achievements in History
  • Striving to Make the World Better
  • Keeping Current With Black Voices and Changemakers

Showing Appreciation Matters

A former coworker of mine was spending time with distant relatives in a small town in Florida. Across the street from the house where she was staying was a public park, which was hosting a Black History Month event. It was basically a mobile museum—and it looked interesting to her.

She headed over and took a close look at all of the exhibits. While she was looking at one of the exhibits, a kid walked up to her and thanked her for being there. The child was the young son of one of the organizers, and he could tell that my friend wasn’t there because she was following a crowd. She wasn’t there because someone else dragged her to go. She was there of her own volition and that child could sense that. And he expressed his gratitude toward her.

There was a mutual expression of gratitude. Having the desire to learn and showing a level of appreciation for Black history matters a lot.

Rachel Blank, Founder and CEO, Allara


Honoring Black Struggles and Achievements

One of the most significant lessons I learned during Black History Month was the importance of recognizing and understanding the struggles and contributions of Black people throughout history.

It was eye-opening to learn about the achievements and sacrifices of Black leaders, thinkers, artists, and activists who have fought for civil rights and social justice. Also, reflecting on the ongoing struggles that Black people face today, including systemic racism, economic inequality, and police brutality, helped me better understand the ongoing fight for racial justice.

By learning about the experiences and accomplishments of Black people, I’ve become more informed and empathetic, and I believe that I can be a better ally in the fight for equality.

Will Gill, Event Entertainer, DJ Will Gill


Amplifying Black Voices

My biggest takeaway from Black History Month was the importance of amplifying Black voices and celebrating the achievements African Americans have made in various areas of life.

I also was reminded that, despite the Civil Rights Movement and other laws being enacted, Black people are still overlooked in the workplace and still have to fight to have a seat at the table.

Tawanda Johnson, HR and DEI Consultant, Sporting Smiles


Recognizing Outstanding Black Figures in History

Black History Month first began as Negro History Week, started by historian Carter Woodson in 1926, thus establishing the field of African American Studies. Every year, Black History Month highlights the achievements of Black Americans.

There are a number of contributions made to our society that have gone unrecognized for too long. There have been numerous scientists and innovators who have made our lives better through inventions we use every day.

For example, Alexander Miles patented the elevator doors in 1887. Charles Drew created the first blood bank and was the first director of the American Red Cross. Marie Van Brittan Brown developed the home security system and closed-circuit television in 1966. Sadly, many of these great achievements weren’t learned as part of American history. This is why Black History Month is so important.

Andrew Adamo, VP, Bullion Shark


Striving to Make the World Better

The biggest lesson that can be learned during Black History Month is that, despite centuries of oppression, Black Americans have demonstrated remarkable resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. They have fought for their rights and have achieved significant progress in areas such as education, politics, and business.

The challenges they faced have inspired them to build strong communities, create art, music, literature, and to innovate in various fields. Ultimately, Black History Month teaches us that, despite facing immense challenges, we can overcome them through resilience, hard work, and determination.

We can all learn from the strength and perseverance of Black Americans and strive to make the world a better, more inclusive place for everyone.

David Reid, Sales Director, VEM Tooling


Keeping Current With Black Voices and Changemakers

Aside from the legacy names from the past, many notable current voices and changemakers should be celebrated for Black History Month.

We should pay homage to those making a difference in this world here and now, as they are setting examples for future generations.

Lynne Williams, Executive Director, Great Careers Groups


What did YOU learn during Black History Month?  If your answer is not much, let’s change that together.

Written by Tamica Sears

March 8, 2023

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