As a Black American, it has been exciting to watch the momentum of the BLM movement build, conversations around race grow, and the road to allyship widen in this country. In the same breath, there is still MUCH work to be done. This is one reason I felt compelled to start my Allyship Activation Program, to help allies build something beautiful and authentic in their practices.
We are seeing more and more business capitalize (or even exploit) this movement in efforts to monetize or improve “optics”. The truth is, it is disheartening to see the way that the month of February (Black History Month) is still being treated as a “one and done” month; a sort of box ticking exercise of many Americans and the “appropriate time” to explore black history. A true Ally will extend the conversation beyond the month of February. I am here to help you navigate building these foundations in your life and business, in order to create meaningful and authentic awareness and deepen your allyship overall. Our Allyship Activation course guides our members through avoiding the stumbling blocks of allyship and transcending into meaningful business practices to build inclusive foundations without harmful fear or shame tactics.
Here are 8 simple and effective ways you can show up for the Black community during Black History Month and continue to show up for them EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Oh, and it doesn’t start with slavery or end at the civil rights movement. In other words, do your research! Black History month is actually a great time to dig deep into the events and cultural atrocities that were left out of our schoolbooks (and believe me, there is a TON!). Too often, we gloss over the unimaginable oppression and the stripping of millions of people from their homeland and heritage and forget to celebrate all the amazing accomplishments of African Americans to our current way of life.
Be intentional in continuing the cause. One of the best ways to honor the spirit of Black History Month is by strengthening your allyship. Use this month and the rest of the year to seek out resources that allow you to be the best ally you can be.
It is inevitable that you will misstep, disappoint yourself, or offend someone in this journey. Not to worry though, you are heading in the right direction and we must always strive for progress NOT perfection. Continue to devote and commit time to learning how you can support marginalized communities.
The White Ally Toolkit, Teaching Tolerance, and the Safety Pin Box are all great resources for taking your allyship to the next level. Consider joining our Facebook group to be part of a community sharing resources and ideas on how we can do better.
Make it an intentional choice to donate to Black owned causes and organizations. Additionally, support Black owned business, artists, and authors within the Black community wherever you can. Look around your everyday life and make a conscious choice to replace some of your spending with local Black owned businesses. While it may not be the most convenient choice the impact is much greater than a one-time purchase! Share your amazing finds with your friends and family!
Cultural appropriation and appreciation are 2 very different things. The line between the two has been blurred for generations but this is no excuse. Let’s get the facts straight, right here and right now. Cultural appreciation means understanding the meaning, symbolism, and historical context of the culture without taking it on as your own. While cultural appropriation is defined as someone using something from another culture that is not their own without knowing the meaning or historical context behind it and even making it appear as if they invented, discovered, or made it trendy.
Show appreciation and respect for another culture by always giving credit and helping educate others on the historical origins and meanings behind things.
One way to do this is by intentionally seeking out diverse talent. This means establishing business practices that are foundational in inclusivity. A true ally is an ally for all marginalized communities not just the Black community. Actively seeking diversity within your organization is about recognizing, honoring, and allowing opportunities for all marginalized communities in your business. Who’s on your team?
7. Keep Learning and Growing
Dedicate time to attending virtual events, listen to podcast, and attend workshops. Many organizations are kicking their resources into high gear in the month of February in celebration, so capitalize on this! Bust out your planner and dedicate time in February to tap into these resources to deepen you understanding and create partnerships that you can continue throughout the year.
This is one of the most crucial steps in honoring Black history and the Black culture at large. Listen to Black men and women and acknowledge, not challenge their experiences. Do not make it about you or your experiences. Black Americans are often put into the same category by historical experience, but it is important that you see us as individuals and not just members of a collective group.
Interested in learning more and taking your allyship to the next level? Check out our Allyship Activation Program and join a community of likeminded individuals in our journey to do better, be better, and grow! In this program we will take you step by step through:
All of this and so much more without the fear of shame tactics used by some programs. Don’t delay, join us today!