Black History Month started at the beginning of February and goes until March 1, serving as a time to celebrate the history, culture and resilience of Black people in the United States. It also serves as a time to recognize the contributions African Americans have made despite the racism, violence and other systemic obstacles they have faced throughout history.
In this article, we’ll look at how organizations are celebrating Black History Month and helping to elevate the voices of Black Americans.
Boeing’s Goals for Creating an Inclusive Workplace
As part of its strategy to build a culture of inclusion by advancing equity in the workplace, Boeing Company (No. 16 on DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) has a goal to increase the Black representation rate of its employees to 20% in the U.S. by 2025.
Here are some other goals the company wants to achieve by 2025:
- Parity in retention rate of all groups
- Close gaps in representation for historically underrepresented groups
- Annually report diversity metrics and progress
- “Eliminate any statistically significant differences between the workplace experiences of underrepresented and at-representation groups”
“While we are moving in the right direction, we want and need to accelerate change. To achieve our aspirations, we are galvanizing our entire workforce to advance equity through annual incentives to advance equitable talent selections, building inclusive teams through diverse interview panels and using Seek, Speak & Listen to understand each other better, grow our business resource group network globally giving teammates an opportunity to “tune in” wherever they are on the journey,” the company said.
AT&T’s Jamika Doakes Reflects on Black History Month
This Black History Month, Jamika Doakes, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T (a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company), reflected on the month by talking about fond memories from her childhood and spending time with her dad on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, “the unofficial kick-off to BHM,” she wrote in a post for the company.
“He was adamant that I learn about our history, especially growing up in Alabama where many key events in the civil rights movement took place. He made sure we visited sites like the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham and encouraged my participation in programs at church that celebrated Black achievement.”
Doakes added that these experiences helped shape her upbringing and connect her to the Black community by learning about what Black people have overcome and achieved throughout history.
“I keep these learnings with me every day. Having strong roots in Alabama, I embedded myself in community volunteerism early on, helping recruit people of color onto nonprofit boards serving minority communities.”
Doakes and her husband relocated to Dallas, and she joined AT&T and was able to continue those efforts in her career.
“Joining the AT&T Corporate Social Responsibility team nearly 8 years ago has allowed me to create connections with the communities we serve and lead programs that aim to make a real difference.”
One thing AT&T is doing is helping to bridge the digital divide and bring high-quality internet connectivity to the millions of people in the U.S. who don’t have it, which tends to be in communities of color. According to a study from McKinsey and Co., 40% of Black American households don’t have high-speed internet compared to 28% of white American households.
Doakes shared that a big part of solving the digital divide is “ensuring people have the digital skills and resources needed to fully thrive in today’s world.”
“Our organization is working to help people better understand how to get online and use technology and is collaborating with organizations to train and deploy ‘Digital Navigators’ in communities across the country,” she said.
“I’m particularly passionate about this program because it focuses on training trusted members of the community to help others within their community access the internet, use technology and devices and boost their digital skills to access important resources. It’s people helping people see the true value and benefits of connectivity.”
Comcast Celebrates Black Entrepreneurs
Comcast NBCUniversal (No. 7 on DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) is celebrating Black History Month by sharing the stories of diverse entrepreneurs through two docuseries: “Founding in Color” and “The Road to RISE.” Both will be available to watch on February 16 on Peacock and Black Experience on Xfinity.
“Founding in Color” is in its second season and is part two of a three-part series that follows the entrepreneurial journey of 11 Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs. In the series, “these entrepreneurs get candid about the challenges they face and how they’ve had to dig deep to navigate race, identity, and other complexities to survive as founders in America today,” according to Comcast.
“The Road to RISE” stops in four midwestern cities and focuses on the journeys of four small business owners who are looking to achieve big goals.