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  • Writer's pictureWTS Sacramento

2022 Black History Month Recap

In February, WTS Sacramento celebrated Black History Month by reflecting on the origins and significances of this observance month within the US.

Black History Month first began with the inception of “Negro History Week” in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Originally observed in the second week of February, the intention of “Negro History Week” was to provide a period for celebrating pride in the Black community, reflecting on their contributions, and planning generations of African Americans. In 1986. Congress formally recognized “National Black History Month” through a proclamation issued by then President Ronald Reagan, in which he stated that “the foremost purpose of Black History Month is to make all Americans aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity”.

Since its formal observance in 1986, the annual celebrations of Black History Month within the US include an accompanying national theme (chosen by the ASALH) that focuses on key aspects of the African American experience. This year's theme for Black History Month is Black Health and Wellness and intends to spotlight the importance of mental and physical wellbeing during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in the US.

To learn more about the history of Black History Month, visit the following pages:

Real Talk: Black Women on Balancing Pressure, Fatigue and New Opportunities in Uncertain Times

In recent years, workplace discussions and calls to action to promote diversity, equity and inclusion were oftentimes disproportionately tasked to Black and Brown women, which has resulted in stacking a heavy burden on the members of these already marginalized groups trying to navigate the wave of social unrest amidst the pandemic. Black, female professionals are often the central figures in teams and discussions focused on achieving racial equity, yet how does one balance the stress, fatigue, and pressure of balancing a career with these additional advocacy roles?

In 2021, Ellen Bailey, VP of Diversity and Culture at Harvard Business Publishing, Octavia Goredema, Author of Prep, Push, Pivot: Essential Career Strategies for Underrepresented Women, and Laura Morgan Roberts, Professor of Practice at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, had a discussion on the intersectionality between being Black and a woman, and a DE&I advocate in professional circles.

From this conversation, here are a few ways organizations could provide tangible support in empowering BIPOC employees:

1. Set up marginalized communities for success by being mindful that this type of work takes a toll,

2. Reward and acknowledge contributions in both official roles and unofficial DEI roles,

Set a clear expectation that "No" is okay.

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