Everyone knows that February marks Black History Month (BHM); it’s the one month in the year that dedicates itself to celebrating the achievements of the Black community and opens the floor to discuss how to bridge racial divides.
And let’s be honest, while this discussion should be happening year-round, BHM is a great way to get the conversation going.
Whether you’re a Black-owned business or not, the month of February is an excellent opportunity for businesses to connect with the Black community and do their part in highlighting the contributions they’ve made to our society and culture.
But, it’s important you choose to celebrate BHM for the right reasons. Taking part in BHM isn’t about boosting sales or gaining more followers; it’s about making a real and positive contribution to society by supporting the Black community. So, if you’re reading this with dollar signs in your eyes, this post isn’t for you.
However, as a business owner, if you want to celebrate BHM in a genuine and thoughtful way, we have some great ideas for you. For this post, we partnered with the founder & CEO of RISE Urban Nation, Taryell Simmons, to give you everything you need to become an ally for the Black community and participate in Black History Month.
But before we start, if you’re not familiar with Black History Month, it’s never too late to learn. Taryell explains, “Black History Month is an excellent way for us all to learn about Black and Pan-African contributions. But, unfortunately, such stories had been largely forgotten and were a neglected part of the nation’s history.”
Feel free to educate yourself on the topic. Get to know the story behind the month and why you should participate.
Now that you’re all caught up, here’s how you can contribute to Black History Month as a business owner.
Many people have questions about BHM or the Black community but don’t know where to ask those questions. Whether you have employees or not, you can connect with a Black speaker to learn more about the topic.
“I believe we should also find ways to celebrate our current Black and Pan-Africans who are making history, impacting the country and the world with their activism and achievements,” Taryell shares.
The best part of BHM is that it opens the door for discussion—and we seriously need more conversation on the topic.
As a small business, you can incorporate a Black speaker into a Facebook or Instagram live session, where your followers can ask questions and learn more.
White people aren’t the only ones buying your product or service (gasp!), which means you should work on expanding your marketing—make it inclusive.
But it’s more than just including people of color in your social media posts; your company culture also matters. By incorporating inclusivity in your values, you’re making a genuine change in your industry.
If you’re interested in paying homage to BHM, why not work hand-in-hand with a Black history maker? If you’re hosting an online marketing summit, consider partnering with a Black-owned business. If you need to redesign your website, hire a Black website designer.
You can also connect with Black-owned businesses for partner discounts on services or products—an impactful move that benefits both of you.
There are many charities and nonprofits dedicated to building up the Black community. Your business can make a donation, or you can volunteer and get hands-on in the community.
Volunteer at your local YMCA, become a peacemaker ambassador through LIVEFREE to end gun violence in the Black community or join AmeriCorps to help with food banks, education, and disaster response. The options are endless.
You know your community better than we do, so reach out to your local charities and nonprofits to give them the support they need.
BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other people of color) scholarships are an amazing way to contribute to BHM.
If you want to empower the Black community, your business can help support the Black leaders of tomorrow by creating or investing in a BIPOC scholarship.
A scholarship will directly help Black professionals enter the industry and succeed. CorePower Yoga created full scholarships for teacher training certification. While organizations like NAACP or UNCF have scholarships that you can donate to.
In the business world, it’s always a competition. But it doesn’t have to be. Use BHM as an opportunity to connect with local Black-owned businesses and highlight their services.
Whether it’s the bakery you buy your coffee from in the morning, or the graphic designer who created your logo, empower local Black businesses by offering support.
Let’s say you own a marketing business, you can host a workshop and include Black keynote speakers who can highlight their own business while educating your customers.
This opens up opportunities for Black businesses to market themselves and gain new clients while providing your customers value.
There are so many seriously talented Black artists, whether it be through painting, dance, music, or fashion. Who are the Black artists in your community?
Taryell couldn’t agree more. “Celebrating Black History Month by intentionally supporting Black communities offers an opportunity for us all to create meaningful connections that bridge instead of divide and reimagine what possibilities lie ahead.”
Highlight the Black artists in your community through blog and social media posts—introduce them to your followers and help them gain recognition for their talents.
As a business owner, there’s a very high chance that you’re the only employee in your business, and if so, you can skip this section. However, if you do have employees, this is important to note.
While you shouldn’t force your Black employees to participate in BHM if they don’t want to, you should include those who want to be a part of it. Who better to discuss Black achievements and honor BHM than the people who are a part of the Black community?
If you’re a Black business owner, of course, you can join the conversation as well. Interview your Black employees, have them discuss their experiences, their favorite Black authors, politicians, directors—share these voices on your social media and start a conversation.
The best way to celebrate BHM is by leading by example. BHM isn’t about shaming; it’s about shining a light on how we can improve our personal and professional lives.
When you look at your business, what do you see? Is it diverse? Is it inclusive? If the answer is no to both those questions, you’ve just spotted an area that needs improvement in your business. No business is perfect, but acknowledging these flaws it’ll help you grow as a business.
All these ideas we gave you are great, but if you want to take it to the next level, make sure you take advantage of your social media presence.
If you have a following, use your social media platforms to spread your message and positively impact Black History Month.
The information provided on this page is for information, educational, and/or editorial purposes only. It is not intended to indicate any affiliation between Tailor Brands and any other brand or logo identified on this page.
Natasha Ivanovic is a Vancouver-born creative writer that started her writing career as a freelancer while studying for her Master’s in Investigative Psychology. On the weekends, she writes short stories for her blog, TheLonelySerb, and cuddles with her bulldog, Bob.