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Black History Month

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February marks Black History Month (BHM) when many organizations host events, educational programming and celebrate the accomplishments of Black Americans and their contributions to society. Here’s our guidance on the best practices to guide BHM commemorations and related communications this year:

  • No gratitude for platitudes. Offer specific updates and examples on your progress towards advancing racial equity and social justice.

  • Stick to the script. Avoid ad lib and “winging it;” rather prepare, research, practice, be sensitive to language and tone and socialize remarks with a diverse group.

  • Speak authentically. Don’t deliver a message that can be perceived as disingenuous and perfunctory. Add personal perspectives and examples of the positive significance of BHM.

  • Best bet is to vet. Conduct thorough due diligence on external speakers’ affiliations, organizations, social media commentary and profile and public stances on controversial topics.

  • Prepare for the skeptics and critics. A tough Q&A should be developed that answers questions and perhaps even critical comments, including but not limited to mentioning that the month presents an opportunity for everyone to examine how certain legacies of racial injustice persist in systems and institutions, and have led to unfair outcomes.

    As organizations consider plans to recognize days of DEI historical significance and religious/cultural celebrations, please keep in mind the following:

  • Before publicly recognizing cultural days and milestones in internal and external communications and related activities, organizations should consider their DEI priorities and interests of key stakeholders, including employees and customers.

  • When implementing programs and drafting communications, organizations should prepare a strategic response plan to address potential questions and criticisms that their messaging might lack sincerity and meaningful action, or worse, that programming is careless and offensive.

    Please see below in pdf format more fulsome communications guidance for Black History Month commemorations. Finally, if you have further questions or seek additional support navigating DEI topics within your organization and developing a communications strategy with key stakeholders, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

    CONTACT

    Kito Huggins_web.png
    Kito Huggins,
    Managing Director
    Head of U.S. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Practice
    kito.huggins@fgh.com