Wouldn’t it be great to hear that every month? It is so wonderful that we celebrate various heritages throughout the year, as it ensures that we are inclusive in recognizing cultural differences. I love participating in the various expressions of culture and heritage that are celebrated during a given month. However, wouldn’t it be great if we celebrated every heritage, every day?
The United States is said to be a melting pot because of its rich cultural differences and intermarriage of ethnicities. Did you know that the term “melting pot” was popularized by Israel Zangwill’s play of the same name in 1908? The play portrays the story of a Russian composer’s hope for a future free of ethnic divisions and hatred. One of the play’s most famous lines speaks to the progress that comes with diversity:
“[W]hat is the glory of Rome and Jerusalem where all nations and races come to worship and look back, compared with the glory of America, where all races and nations come to labour and look forward!”
In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson introduced a week-long celebration to raise awareness of African Americans’ historical contributions. Fifty years later, Black History Month was established by President Gerald Ford. It is believed that Black History Month was the first established celebration of an ethnic group in the United States. In fact, it is likely that without Dr. Woodson’s efforts to recognize the contributions of African Americans, there would not be opportunities to recognize and celebrate historically marginalized groups.
As your organization determines how to celebrate the heritage and/or identity of the month, consider assessing how to establish ongoing recognitions. Perhaps, there are ways to embed inclusivity into the organization’s practices to be a more inclusive collective, and not just to ensure we are meeting a standard that is “politically correct.” It may seem challenging, especially when you don’t know where to start, but Bright Places can help your organization with its efforts to assess and embed inclusion in your everyday practices. From leadership, to your hiring and evaluation processes, let us help you honor the diversity of your team at every level, every day!