Black History Month provides an important opportunity to reflect on inclusion
February 01, 2022
Black History Month is dedicated to honoring the contributions of African Americans to society both in the US and worldwide.
Black History Month provides an important opportunity to reflect on inclusion and forge a future of harmony and belonging for all.
The theme for Black History Month in 2022 is: Black Health and Wellness.
For Black History Month and beyond, it is critical that the voices and achievements of black women in the workplace are celebrated and their visibility elevated. Additionally, Black History Month provides a key opportunity for employers to reinforce and amplify their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Efforts from progressive employers go well beyond one month of course with an ongoing focus on recruiting, retaining and supporting diverse talent.
“History is power. History is self-determination. Those who have power to exercise self-determination have power to control the writing and promotion of their history. Therefore, celebrating Black history and Black History Month is more than a perfunctory exercise that acknowledges Black people throughout the African Diaspora and Africa. Teaching, researching, and promoting the history of a globally subordinated and subjugated racial group is an innocuous yet profoundly revolutionary act of self-determination,” explains Wendell Nii Laryea Adjetey, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University.
In diversity there is beauty and strength
"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity, there is beauty, and there is strength," according to Maya Angelou - so indeed we all have a lot more work to do.
American author Jacqueline Woodson attested: "Diversity is about all of us and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together."
American social worker Mary Parker Follett explained: "Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed."
American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist Audre Lorde reminded: "It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."
Understanding ourselves and growing stronger
In his Proclamation on National Black History Month 2022, President of the United States Joe Biden says:
"Each February, National Black History Month serves as both a celebration and a powerful reminder that Black history is American history, Black culture is American culture, and Black stories are essential to the ongoing story of America — our faults, our struggles, our progress, and our aspirations. Shining a light on Black history today is as important to understanding ourselves and growing stronger as a Nation as it has ever been. That is why it is essential that we take time to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacies and achievements of generations past, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront those injustices that still fester today."
"...Across the generations, countless Black Americans have demonstrated profound moral courage and resilience to help shape our Nation for the better. Today, Black Americans lead industries and movements for change, serve our communities and our Nation at every level, and advance every field across the board, including arts and sciences, business and law, health and education, and many more. In the face of wounds and obstacles older than our Nation itself, Black Americans can be seen in every part of our society today, strengthening and uplifting all of America. Vice President Harris and I are deeply committed to advancing equity, racial justice, and opportunity for Black Americans as we continue striving to realize America’s founding promise."
Read the full Proclamation here.