Engaging our employees for Black History Month

We talk a lot at the agency about diversity and inclusion and we’re working diligently to develop a robust plan to bring more equity to the way we work. It’s one of the priorities you’ll hear me talk about often. 

We take February, Black History Month, as an opportunity to go beyond the typical. We spend the month highlighting many aspects of Black history and culture and offering our staff members ways to engage with the information and each other.

Every work day throughout the month, we send our nearly 800 employees an email about a topic relating to Black Americans. Some topics are serious, like race medicine. Some are more fun. We sent a list last week of local podcasts to check out, including Chocolate News and The Lincoln Ware Rewind. We also highlighted museums employees can visit virtually, like the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. 

This year, we’re adding a virtual seminar by Dr. O’Dell Owens, former Hamilton County coroner, Cincinnati State president and long-time physician and community activist, about health issues that are pertinent to Black Americans and what we can all do to take better care of ourselves. 

I’m excited about another new Black History Month effort – a playlist. We asked our employees to submit songs by and about Black Americans. The result is a 75-song list that ranges from A Change is Gonna Come to Rapper’s Delight. You should check it out

I’m proud of these efforts because they’re employee-driven. It’s true that our agency, like so many businesses, is struggling now to hire and keep enough good workers in some key positions. But those we have are remarkable in their desire and commitment to awareness, change and including everyone in the process. 

by Jane Prendergast

Filed Under: From the Director, News

Tagged: black history month, hcjfs, Michael Patton