ESG/S Black History Month

black history month esg

ESG/S Black History Month

Do you know why we celebrate Black History Month? Black History Month is an annual celebration that started in the United States in 1926. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, the U.S president who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and Frederick Douglas, an African American orator, social reformer, writer, and abolitionist. However, it wasn’t until 1976, under President Gerald Ford, that Black History Month was officially recognized as a public holiday in the United States.

ESG, or Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance, is a popular metric today for socially conscious investors and business leaders to measure a company’s impact on the environment and its employees, business partners, and surrounding communities.  As the Black Lives Matter movement and other campaigns pushing for racial justice gain traction, the “S” has significantly grown in prominence over the last several years.

Organizations must genuinely strive for diversity, equity, and inclusion by moving beyond performative allyship to ensure actions authentically align with their anti-racism and equity statements. Honestly reflecting on your organization’s diversity and the challenges your Black Employees experience is just the start of implementing real, systematic change.

Celebrating Black History Month at your organization is an important step in creating an environment that is more equitable and inclusive. Here are four practical and easy ways to recognize Black History Month this month and all year long:

  • Host events to educate and train employees on different topics relating to anti-racism and bias in the workplace. Bring in speakers to speak about civil rights and other topics surrounding Black identity.
  • Create, amplify, and empower a Black Employee Resource Group within your organization. 
  • Find and support Black-owned businesses. (Search for a local Black Chamber of Commerce). 
  • Encourage donations to charities to support anti-racism in your community.  

How is your organization celebrating Black History Month? We’d love to hear your suggestions and share the best ideas with the FGP community!