During the month of February, elementary schools around the country will celebrate Black History Month and learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, who led a nonviolent movement to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States. Perhaps more importantly, they'll listen to his “I Had A Dream” speech, deemed one of the most moving and revered orations in all of human history.
As for us, there are many ways to honor African Americans during this celebrated month. We can take the initiative to learn about those who have come before us, celebrate those working to create change, and take action ourselves to bring about a diverse and inclusive future.
Kick back on the couch and expand your mind with all of the best sellers in black history. Learn about the sentiments behind the Black Lives Matter Movement, the accomplishments of women in science in the now movie Hidden Figures, or the life behind former President Obama.
A little community service never hurt anyone, and it definitely doesn’t hurt to encourage young people to become change-makers in their lives. The universal language of coding can help build bridges for many young people. Teaching kids to code, empowering them to learn, or imparting other leadership skills can help shape our future leaders. Taking the time out to inspire young people will lead to a better tomorrow.
In product development, it can be easy to think about how your product will work for people like you. However, not all people are exactly like you. We all think differently and have different ways of experiencing products. This also goes for how you're marketing your product. There is huge value in reaching out to potential minority and female users that not everyone capitalizes on.
“We know that we can’t change it unless we address it,” said DeRay Mckesson, a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement. One way African American history has been swept under the rug is the lack of shared stories of African American’s accomplishments and struggles. The stories future generations will read about are the ones we deem the most important today. The injustices of the present and past cannot be remedied if they aren't known by all people.
When in need of inspiration, take a look back at some of the African American entrepreneurs of the past. They overcame extreme racial discrimination to be successful. History’s entrepreneurs paved the way for us to be successful today. They struggled to make a better future. Read their stories and learn how to get through your own struggles and challenges to be your own success.
One way to celebrate black history is to recognize the history that is being made today. The black founders that surround us are forging new paths for people of the future. Looking at the other the other entrepreneurs around you is also a good way to bring about improvements and potential collaborations.
Gathering people together regardless of skin color was not always possible. Taking the time to come together as a team is also good for morale and building the culture of your startup. Food is a great way to bring people together. You could even serve Mac and Cheese, because its creation can be credited to its creation can be credited to James Hemings, one of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves, as one of the first to serve American mac and cheese.
Make sure that you are seeking diversity in the workplace. There is no one way of doing things. Through promoting diverse minds to have a place on your team there will be more creative contributions. When people are surrounded by people that look like them, they probably won’t question practices and seek change. Improvements can only come with some change.
Read more about diversity and African American founders making moves in tech on Tech.Co