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I Made A Pledge For BHM 2024

First published on LinkedIn.



I recently made a post on LinkedIn that went viral. I was wonderfully surprised by the support in the comments and number of reposts. It just goes to show that there’s a strong community behind advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).


And despite all the support, DEIB continues to be under attack


In 2023, a report found that DEIB roles are seeing higher attrition rates than non-DEIB roles. In some companies hit by layoffs, over 300 DEIB professionals, and sometimes entire DEIB teams, called it quits. While DEIB initiatives surged from 29% in 2019 to 43% in 2021, the numbers have dipped, with a 33% drop in companies with DEIB programs since 2020. Sadly, 80% of employees feel their workplaces haven't made meaningful progress in creating a fairer environment for employees of color since George Floyd's murder.


But do not despair...DEIB is not going ANYWHERE. Some organizations may choose to camouflage it under different acronyms, or remove emphasis of certain initiatives from their websites to avoid the potential of litigation...but I am convinced that employees will not let this important work fade into the background of priorities. The naysayers are definitely in the minority and on the wrong side of history. 


Switching gears - let's talk about Black History Month - a time when organizations pause to celebrate the contributions of Black/African-Americans. (Psst! Every month is Black History Month - just FYI!). Don't believe me? Just look around your home or office. You will struggle to overlook some convenience that you enjoy everyday that we would not have if it were not for a Black inventor.


Unfortunately, some employers use Black History Month (BHM) just to showcase their Black employees without FIRST addressing DEIB real issues—basically, performative (or FAKE) DEIB. The downside? Your BIPOC employees will feel tokenized, won't feel safe, and will feel like they are being gaslit, leading to lower engagement and more turnover...ultimately hurting the team's performance.


So how can we approach BHM without being performative? Here’s a list of Do’s & Don’ts for Black History Month:



A 2022 report from Black Women Thriving shows that 66% of Black women don't feel emotionally safe at work. While over 80% of White women and White men see themselves as Allies to people of color, less than half of Black women feel they have strong Allies at work. The key is making everyone feel like they belong.


Ultimately, Black employees all just want to be treated like humans (the only REAL race) and unleash their full potential at work—no different from everyone else! Keep in mind, DEIB is a marathon…Not a sprint!


This Black History Month, I'm committing to using my privilege as a Black woman to speak up for those who might not feel empowered. 


FEBRUARY OBSERVANCES:


  • Black History Month: Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. The Black History Month 2024 theme, “African Americans & the Arts,” explores the key influence African Americans have had in the fields of "visual and performing arts, literature, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, culinary, and other forms of cultural expression."

  • Ethnic Equality Month: This is a period to recognize the similarities all people have, yet acknowledge, appreciate and respect the differences in all of us. So regardless of your ethnicity, everyone is equal and deserves equal rights and equal opportunities. Ethnic Equality Month is a good time to reflect and challenge ourselves, as a group and individually. It brings to light the unfortunate biases that still exist in our society, how far we’ve come in achieving equality, and what each one of us can do to contribute to something the world should be striving to achieve; social equality and justice.

  • World Hijab Day - February 1: This is an annual event founded by Nazma Khan in 2013, taking place on February 1st each year in 140 countries worldwide. Its stated purpose is to encourage women of all religions and backgrounds to wear and experience the hijab for a day and to educate and spread awareness on why hijab is worn.

  • National Freedom Day - February 1: This day was founded to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as U.S. citizens, freedoms that we should never take for granted. Specifically, the holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when President Abraham Lincoln signed what would later become the 13th Amendment. This amendment is so important because it effectively ended slavery in the U.S. Freedom is one of the founding principles of the United States of America and this day was envisioned as a way for all citizens to take a moment to appreciate how lucky they are. 

  • International Day of Women and Girls in Science - February 11: This day is an opportunity to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Gender equality is a global priority, and the support of young girls, their education, and their full ability to make their ideas heard are levers for development and peace. 

  • Tana's Birthday - February 18: A national celebration of Tana's annual rotation around the sun and the final day of the Age of Aquarius!

  • President's Day - February 19: Presidents' Day is celebrated every year on the third Monday of February as a commemoration for the birthdays of George Washington & Abraham Lincoln.

  • World Day of Social Justice - February 20: This day is observed to commemorate and urge all efforts to combat unemployment, social exclusion, and poverty. Social development and social justice are indispensable for the achievement and maintenance of peace and security within and among nations and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be attained in the absence of peace and security, or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

  • Leap Day - February 29: The purpose of Leap Day, which occurs on February 29th in a leap year, is to keep our calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because the Earth's orbit around the Sun takes approximately 365.25 days, the extra quarter of a day accumulates over 4 years to add up to an additional day. Adding a leap day every 4 years compensates for this discrepancy, ensuring that our calendar remains in alignment with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun.


Until next month... Be well and stay safe & healthy!

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