February 20th, 2020 By Jack Morton
There are many ways to honor and celebrate awareness months like black history month. We’re sharing three easy, and effective ways.
- Host a speaker on the topic
- Watch relevant content and hold a group discussion afterward
- Support businesses and individuals that also support the cause or subject matter
Or do a combination of a few!
Throughout February, Jack offices celebrated black history month by employing a few of these tactics.
We carved out time to hold collective discussions around important topics such as diverse recruitment efforts and racial stereotypes, shared ways to support black-owned businesses in our local communities, and promoted books to foster learning and growth.
Some unforgettable experiences and award-winning work helped to kick-start group discussions for us:
Google’s “Most Searched” video highlights #TheMostSearched moments and individuals in America – specifically, Black American achievements searched more than any others between 2004 and 2019. As a group, we watched the video and discussed the importance of hiring diverse candidates and how that doesn’t translate to lowering hiring standards.
“The amazing individuals from this video are why hiring diverse candidates and qualified candidates are not mutually exclusive – you can have both.” – Naquell Stephenson, Human Resources Business Partner
At Jack, we’re employing this thinking in our hiring process.
The recent Oscar®-winning short film, Hair Love, was also used as a conversation piece and thought-starter. After screening this beautiful work of art that tells the story of an African American dad learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time, we talked about stereotypes. How society and the media often portrays black individuals and families, negatively. Hair Love does the exactly the opposite.
Shelley Elkins, Jack’s chief creative officer, used the film to spark conversation in a couple of ways. Sharing the story of the teenage boy in Texas who might not be able to walk at his graduation because of his hairstyle – which is an expression of his heritage – she reinforced the importance of having more content like Hair Love. Be it films, books, children’s books, cartoons, etc.
Sharing the tweet Gloria Steinem sent Time’s Up/Advertising when it formed, which is directly related to the film’s core message, Jeremy Hodges, VP and Executive Creative Director, emphasized that we have power as marketers to change the norm.
Elkins also shared Marley Emerson Dias’ story, who at a 13-years-old collected more than 11,000 books showcasing black female lead characters because she was frustrated by the lack of diversity in books she read. Now an author herself, Dias can add her own book to that list!
Spread the love
We talked about ways to support black-owned restaurants, entrepreneurs, artists and more, by sharing content highlighting local restaurants, clothing stores, and block parties that are black-owned.
- eatOkra is an app you can download to locate black-owned restaurants in your local city
- Black Food & Beverage is a community that celebrates African Americans who shape the food and drink culture
- Black Artists + Designers Guild curates black artists and designers
Read, talk, learn and grow
“If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?” Alice Walker
There are many ways to facilitate honest – and often challenging – conversations in the workplace. While some may be easier than others, they’re all equally important.
Elkins purchased and brought in books for her colleagues to take home – including some of her favorite black authors and books she’s just now reading on racism. This small gesture can have a big impact…cultivating learning and future dialogue. It may also generate a reading list or a watch list for our own employees.
And learning is global.
Despite black history month being celebrated in the United States and Canada during February, our Hong Kong office also watched #TheMostSearched Google video and discussed Google’s Doodle diorama about the Greensboro Four because learning and growth is universal. Any conversation about diversity and how to be more inclusive in our thinking and behaviors is relevant.
These are just a few ways to acknowledge and celebrate black history month. If you’re looking for more ways to implement diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in your office overall, give this article a read. And keep in mind that it’s a continual journey; one that evolves.
Take a look back at some of the great brand work we’ve helped bring to life, showcasing talented black artists and more:
Reebok at ComplexCon
Solidifying Reebok’s position as a bold brand for the younger generation
Shooting to win at ComplexCon Chicago
Working with Belvedere to create a series of female-focused live experiences
Designing an experience to celebrate artist, Laolu Senbanjo’s, 2018 limited edition bottle
(Photo cred: Big Picture Publishing)