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February 05, 2021
Celebrate Black History Month with your corporate and remote teams with these 17+ incredible virtual and COVID-safe ideas. These COVID-safe, virtual team-building activities will engage, educate, and inspire your employees and teams.
From delicious treats to interactive history lessons, this guide to Black History Month virtual team-building events has something for everyone. Read on, and remember to carry the spirit of learning and inclusion around Black History Month throughout 2021.
TLDR: In this list, you'll find:
The history of Black History Month is an interesting one and Unexpected Virtual Tours provides a fun and interactive overview, with a live hosted experience and an on-site guide at one of America's most important neighborhoods for Black history. The Black History Month Virtual Team Building experience is one that your team won't forget, with plenty of time for small group discussions and creative storytelling. Past participants at these incredible virtual team building experiences include The Coca-Cola Company, Liberty Mutual, UPS, and many more.
Beyonce, Chuck Berry, Lauryn Hill, Jimi Hendrix, Louis Armstrong - these are just a few of the many Black musicians who have created some of America's greatest sounds. Many genres of music we listen to today were shaped by Black artists and influences. To celebrate Black History Month with your team, ask each person to share a favorite song by an African American artist. Then, create and share your Black History Month playlist using a service like Spotify. Your team will be grooving to their favorite Black musical groundbreakers throughout 2021!
Need some inspiration for this Black History Month corporate event? Check out Spotify’s Black History is Now Hub and NPR’s Black History Month Tiny Desk Concerts.
Reward your employees for their hard work while also supporting a local Black-owned restaurant. You may just introduce your team to their new favorite lunch spot. To make this activity COVID-safe, you can order delivery to each person’s home, host a physically distant lunch pick-up at the office, or even plan a company picnic to enjoy your food together outdoors.
Or, order a gift box featuring Black-owned businesses, which will support many different Black establishments.
Visit eatblackowned.com to find a restaurant near you.
While your company’s budget might not fit a nationally-renowned author like Ibram X. Kendi, your company could hire a local historian to talk about how African Americans have impacted the history and culture of your surroundings, or consider virtually hosting a Black author to speak about their work. Be sure to plan for a Q&A session and even an internal debrief so your team has an opportunity to start a dialogue and learn more.
Search Penguin Random House’s directory of Black History Month Speakers.
It’s easier than you might think to find a Black-led nonprofit that aligns with your employees’ interests. Organizations like Black Girls Code and 100 Black Men of America engage volunteers and mentors across the U.S. through in-person and virtual service. To gain buy-in from your employees, ask them to share their favorite Black-led or social justice-focused nonprofits and allow your employees to spend a designated amount of work time volunteering with one of these causes during Black History Month.
The AAAM (Association of African American Museums) maintains a directory of museums devoted to African American history throughout the U.S. Find one near you and explore their virtual tours and lectures. Or, take a look at the virtual programming offered by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Explore the Association of African American Museums directory.
Use your company’s social media channels, e-newsletter, and other communications to promote the words and ideas of Black thinkers. This can be as simple as searching for, following, and sharing (with credit!) the social media posts of Black experts in your industry. While you’re at it, take a look at which accounts you’re following on social media and make an effort to diversify your own news feed as well.
Start with FindSpark’s list of 30+ Black Creative, Business, and Tech Social Media Influencers.
For teams in Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, and Philadelphia, try out Black and Mobile, the first Black-owned food delivery service in the country to exclusively deliver for Black-owned restaurants. You can order food for your employees directly, or give them a gift card so they can enjoy a delicious meal during their down time. Start an email or Slack thread for everyone to share which restaurant and dish they chose!
Buy a Black and Mobile gift card here.
Sponsoring a local Black-led event is a win-win; your company will likely receive publicity in your community while also supporting a worthy cause. Many festivals are remaining virtual in 2021 or taking safety precautions outdoors. Take a look at your town’s calendar for events like Taste of Soul in Atlanta (photo above from 2019), the American Black Film Festival in Miami Beach, and the Black Arts Festival in Milwaukee.
Start by searching for your city on Soul of America’s 2021 National Calendar of Events.
Book clubs are notorious for fizzling out after the initial excitement has worn off - but when done right, they can provide an enriching, meaningful, and fun experience for your employees. Consider skipping the ongoing commitment and instead host a one-time Virtual Book Club for Black History Month. Employees who are interested can gather virtually to chat about their takeaways, learn from each other, and relax with favorite snacks or libations.
Get started with this list of 19 books to read for Black History Month and beyond.
There are Black and African American affiliation groups for just about every industry. To name a few - the American Association of Blacks in Energy, Blacks in Technology, ColorComm (for women of color in Communications), National Association of Black Accountants, and many others. Consider allocating funds toward your employees’ dues in these and other professional associations and sharing the news with your team. And, another Black History Month corporate idea is to solicit recommendations from employees as to organizations that they support.
Explore a list of African American professional organizations.
Virtual watch parties are easier than ever to plan. One popular Black History Month option is 13th on Netflix, an Oscar-nominated 2016 film from Ava DuVernay that won Best Documentary at the Emmys, BAFTAs, and NAACP Image Awards. Your team could also watch the hour-long recorded 35th Annual Brooklyn Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or tune into the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s Black History Month Virtual Festival with live, scheduled events throughout the month.
Get up to speed with Wired’s guide to easily hosting a virtual watch party.
Cultural appropriation is a hot topic that is often misunderstood. Unexpected Virtual Tours' Music Evolution Team Building in a Box breaks down cultural appropriation and re-appropriation in a fun and creative way with its Music Evolution experience. The event transforms Zoom into "Kazoom" with groups competing against each other in kazoo challenges, earning Grammys for their team, while also thoughtfully engaging in the story of how American music is Black music.
The NAACP is the “oldest and boldest” civil rights organization in the U.S. By joining as a Corporate Member, you’ll support their work and take a stand for equality. Consider also posting your company’s job opportunities on the NAACP job board.
Learn more and become a Corporate Member of your local NAACP here!
African American leaders, thinkers, and inventors have made incredible impacts on all of our personal lives. Ask your employees to take turns sharing one important Black history moment each day during the month of February on Slack or via email. For sports fans, that might be Hank Aaron becoming the all-time home run king, while a tech junkie might choose to share about Philip Emeagwali’s invention of the world’s first supercomputer. This is a great Black History Month corporate idea because it gets everyone engaged in a simple way.
Learn more from The Oprah Magazine’s list of 14 influential African American inventors.
When fighting for racial equality and justice, it’s important to also take time for self-care. Black History Month is a great opportunity to examine your company’s policies around wellness, mental health, and rest. This Bustle article is a great start to understanding the link between activism and burnout. If you’re part of a leadership team, begin a dialogue about how to ensure your company’s employees feel supported, rested, and healthy.
For iPhone users, explore “The Safe Place,” a free mental health app created with the Black community in mind.
Over the last year, there has been a lot of conversation around how to focus more on diversity, inclusion, and racial justice throughout the year. It’s important to remember that this work doesn’t end on February 28. Carter Woodson --- the Father of Black History Month --- specifically said that he wanted Black History Month to be a stepping stone to year-long emphasis on Black history and Black achievement.
If you haven’t already done so, take the time with your executive team to evaluate your company’s hiring practices, dress code, culture, and operations to ensure that you’re fostering a culture of inclusion. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself or know everything; an external consultant can help with this work.
Get started with GoodHire’s tips for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
However you choose to celebrate Black History Month 2021, we hope this is a time of learning, growth, reflection, and meaning for your team!
February 19, 2021
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