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Creative Ways to Celebrate Diversity Months

In the United States there are numerous official diversity months that have been recognized by the US Congress in addition to unofficial months that are celebrated but have not been recognized by an Act of Congress. 

  • January: Not an official month, but unofficially this month often focuses on Civil Rights as we commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King

  • February: Black History Month

  • March: Women’s History Month, Irish American Heritage Month

  • April: Unofficial: Arab-American Month and Diversity Month, Scottish American Heritage Month

  • May: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, American Jewish History Month, Haitian Heritage Month

  • June: Caribbean-American Heritage Month, Unofficial PRIDE/LGBTQ+ Month

  • September: Hispanic Heritage Month (technically this is Sept 15 - Oct 15 but often celebrated the full month of September)

  • October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Italian American Heritage Month, Unofficial - German American Month, Global Diversity Month

  • November: Native American and Alaskan Native Month

For organizations seeking to highlight or commemorate these months, here are some ideas. 

1. Highlight Leaders: Highlight leaders from the community that the observance recognizes and/or celebrates. Create short profiles of notable leaders from the community being celebrated and share them through internal communications such as your newsletters or portal. 

2. Panel Discussion: Organize a panel discussion, with internal or external speakers, to raise awareness of issues and histories surrounding the observance. Invite speakers to share their experiences so that employees can learn about different lived experiences.

3. Movie Screening/YouTube Watching and Discussion: Organize a movie screening and discussion. Choose a movie or documentary that highlights the experiences of diverse communities, and invite employees to share what they learned. You can prepare a set of discussion questions in advance if you wish. You can also share a movie list for employees so that they can explore them in their own time. Movies too long? Make a top 3 list of short YouTube videos for people to watch. 

4. Quotes: Share quotes from members from the community that the observance recognizes and/or celebrates. Find quotes from people within a particular community that communicate an aspect of their unique lived experience. Share these in internal communications, such as in newsletters and on your portal, or external channels including you social media accounts.

5. Recognize Success: Celebrate success stories of people from diverse backgrounds in your industry. Find industry leaders, current or past, from your particular industry and share their stories through internal and external channels.

6. Host a Workshop: Organize a workshop on ways to be more inclusive of diverse communities . Depending on your budget and need, you can organize this yourself or get an external group to run a workshop.

7. Visual Images: Pay attention to what photos and examples are in your organization’s communications and social media. Are they representative of your workforce, clients, and wider community? Ensure that the community you are celebrating is represented in your images.

8. Museum Visits (In Person or Virtual): Organize visits to museums around you or organize virtual tours of museums in other places. Virtual museum tours have grown in popularity throughout the pandemic and can be a way of increasing the range of resources available to you.

9. Book Discussion: Organize a book discussion on a selected book. Or, provide a reading list for employees to explore on their own. 

10.  Tweet Fest: Solicit tweets from the community and/or your employees. Review them, post and tag the people who provided them. Add a DEI related hashtag so you can track the impact. Ideas for tweets include: Someone who impacted you, a quote, an experience you have had or a cultural insight. 

11. Mini-Profiles: Create mini profiles of important people from the community that you think people should know about (choosing lesser known people has the added benefit of creating broader awareness) or profile employees who are willing to share their stories. 

12. Mentoring: Provide a mentoring session for youth in your community. Give it a focus - learning how to network, navigating a professional workspace, updating your LinkedIn profile, or managing up - how to impress the boss. Get creative! 

13. Article Discussion: Books can be daunting, but a short article can be easy to digest. Pick a couple of articles for people to read on the theme of the month. Or focus on a sub-theme. Then set up a discussion forum for people to share their ideas. 

14. ERG Hosted Session: If your organization has employee resource groups, see if they would be willing to host a lunch and learn, or to invite people to join them for lunch at a local restaurant or to bring in take out. Mixing the exploration of food with good conversation is usually a good way to engage employees. 

Written by Kari Heistad and Bhavya Jhaveri

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