The 2022 national theme for Black History Month (BHM) is “February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day”. We are reminded of the importance of recognizing the daily contributions Black Canadians make to this country.
Whether you refer to this month as Black History Month or African Heritage Month as it is called in Nova Scotia, it is a time when many leaders seek meaningful ways to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion principles in the workplace. We invite you to not only reflect on Black History and how it has shaped our country’s identity but to also consider how you and your organization can be a part of ensuring a bright future for Black Canadians – this month and every month.
Most Canadian adults lacked substantial education on Black History and its impact in their formative years. However, it is not too late to “do the work”. By gaining a richer understanding of the past, we are better able to inform the journey towards a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive future.
How to make the month of February feel like Forever
- Learn more. Do research, visit websites or take a course to learn more about Black History.
- Volunteer for a cause or project that helps build your awareness.
- Promote and positively contribute to a culture of inclusion and belonging. Create safe spaces that are barrier-free. Consider mentoring/coaching black youth or young colleagues.
- Practice allyship. Listen, learn, and offer support.
- Don’t rely on your Black friends/colleagues to teach you more about Black History or BHM.
To support you in your journey, we’ve curated several articles and resources.
Black History Month "February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day" – As a call to action for us all to recognize and celebrate Black history every day of the year, the Government of Canada has provided helpful links and resources.
Black Canadian Heroes Who Have Paved the Way for Future Generations – Gain insight into the stories of black Canadians who have had a significant hand in shaping the country’s past, present, and future.
The Story of Slavery in Canadian History – The Canadian Museum for Human Rights sheds light on the legacy of enslavement in Canada.
This is What White Privilege Looks Like at Your Workplace – A thoughtful perspective on how well-intentioned diversity efforts will fail to retain people of colour unless cultural biases towards white supremacy are eliminated.
Included is a link to The New Way We Work podcast, which challenges us to reconsider the definition of “professionalism” and the word's implications, and the personal work required of non-black colleagues to advance EDI goals without burdening black colleagues.
CBC’s “Being Black in Canada” – A collection of stories and experiences of Black Canadians, highlighting narratives that matter to Black communities including historical content, relevant news pieces, and individual successes.
Ontario Black History Society – A registered Canadian charity dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of Black History and heritage. Visit their website to learn more about Black History and discover educational resources and events.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace is more than simply creating diverse teams. It requires fostering a company culture that makes all employees feel safe, supported, and empowered. Leaders can start by reconsidering their own perspectives, the lived experience that has informed their point of view and acknowledging their own bias.
For talent strategies to help your organization reflect on its own journey and set a path to change the future, contact Amorell Saunders N'Daw, Partner and EDI Lead with KBRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.