At Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks and Mint, we celebrate diversity and value inclusion. February marked the start of Black History Month– a time to celebrate the contributions that African Americans have made to history in their struggles for freedom and equality.
The origin of the month can be traced back to Carter G. Woodson who has been called the “Father of Black History Month”, and was the original creator behind Negro Week in 1926. The month eventually morphed into a month-long celebration of achievements of African-Americans and today, Black History Month is celebrated in the US, Canada and the U.K.
While many people celebrate Black History Month in different ways such as reading up on overlooked historical figures, or by supporting their favorite black owned businesses, the African Ancestry Network, one of our 11 employee resource groups, shares a few ways you can celebrate year-long.
Remember Black history is not just American history– it’s global history
While the focus of Black History month primarily shines a light on American history, many of the contributions people of African ancestry have made have impacted the world in significant ways.
Did you know African-American inventor and businessman Garrett Morgan created the three-light traffic signal? Or that the first home security system was created by African-American nurse Mary Van Brittan Brown?
Black History Month is a celebration of contributions that have not only impacted the US, but the globe. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history, we are made by history”.
Take a moment to recognize the great accomplishments in areas including technology, fashion, pop culture, food, and more. We can all celebrate and most importantly, acknowledge the long standing global impact they’ve made year-round.
Take a moment to engage, research and reflect
A great way to extend the spirit of the month is by taking a moment to create a safe space for dialogue, or discuss serious topics such as racism, poverty or everyday experiences members of the black community may face.
There’s no rule that you can only learn more during Black History Month. “When you see interesting facts or interesting people that are being highlighted, take five minutes and read more about them,” said Damion Wright, Global African Ancestry Network co-chair.
Take time to learn more, educate yourself, read a book, or even watch a documentary.
Role model allyship
One of the best ways to honor the spirit of Black History Month is by strengthening your allyship. While you’re doing your research and reading up on Black history, find ways you can use your privilege and find intentional ways you can fight injustice each day.
Take time to reflect on the diversity in your team at work or in your personal network. Consider being a mentor or even by extending your network, to be more inclusive. If you’re a hiring manager, be aware of unconscious bias and partner with your HR team to create hiring criteria that can remove some bias when reviewing candidates.
Consider using your power or privilege to give others a voice in conversations or the seat at the table. Our CEO, Sasan Goodarzi, has mentioned that in meetings, he regularly takes a mental inventory of those contributing to the conversation and encourages everyone to speak. “By being more intentional, you have the power to include more voices in the conversation.” he says, “And the more voices, the better. Because the more ideas that are heard and tested, the more you discover the one great idea that can make a difference. That’s the power of inclusion”
In many marginalized groups representation is key and being an ally can make all the difference. Being an ally has the ability to have a ripple effect and lift everyone up.