This month is Black History Month and presents the perfect time to educate yourself and your family on the importance of the history behind it all. Learn more about how Black History Month originated in the U.S. and learn ways in which you can celebrate it, as well.
What is Black History Month?
Carter G. Woodson established "Negro History Week" in February 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1970, Black United Students and Black educators at Kent State University expanded this idea to include the entire month. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month.
Black History Month is recognized every February to commemorate and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans. It honors Black people who have made significant contributions to America and the rest of the world in the fields of science, politics, law, sports, the arts, entertainment, as well as many other.
How can I celebrate Black History Month?
You can celebrate Black History Month through education and understanding. There are books and documentaries that will give you a foundation and understanding of the challenges and accomplishments of the Black community. You can also show support by supporting Black-owned restaurants and businesses, donating to Black charities and organizations, and visiting museums or exhibits showcasing Black history, art and culture.
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance’s employees celebrate Black History Month in a variety of ways. Read how our employees celebrate with their family and friends during this memorable month.
“Each year during Black History Month, my family will choose movies and series that highlight achievements of Black Americans or that tell the story of the history of Black people in America. It’s a good way to get the kids involved in the celebration, provide inspiration and start a dialogue on the history of Black Americans in this country. Last year, we watched Alex Haley’s ‘Queen’ which chronicles the story of Alex Haley’s grandmother and descendants through slavery and freedom. We also watched ‘The Watsons Go to Birmingham,’ which follows a group of kids who visit their family in the south during the summer of 1963 and witness the Alabama church bombings,” noted Chelsea Kelley, manager of financial reporting. .
She added, “Other movies that we’ve watched include ‘The Help,’ ‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘The Butler,’ ‘Selma,’ and the ‘Eyes on the Prize’ series. This year we plan to watch ‘King Richard,’ the story of Venus and Serena Williams, and the ‘1619 Project.’ The ‘1619 Project’ turned into a Hulu series that features beautiful story telling, even though it raises difficult questions.”,
Sean Cole, manager of ancillary markets, shared his family’s traditions. “When I think of celebrating Black History Month, I immediately think of four things– family, food, music and story-telling–that’s how we do it in the Cole Family!”
“I am fortunate that my birthday lands in the middle of Black History Month. At least once a month, my crew, my brother and his family, additional family members and I will gather at my mom and pops’ house for a home-cooked Sunday dinner (if you’ve ever seen the 90s movie ‘Soul Food,’ that’s what it is!) and celebrate whichever family birthday falls within that month,” Cole added. “So, during Black History Month, I am always treated to a birthday dinner featuring our family’s favorite traditionally African American dishes. Many of the recipes have been passed down for generations, mostly from my great-grandparents, who owned one of the only black-owned restaurants in Indianapolis in the 1940s and 1950s. The restaurant stood right across from IU/Methodist Hospital on North Illinois St. Some of the delicious recipes include pork ‘small bones,’ fried catfish, collard greens, homemade cornbread, black-eyed peas and Chess Pie (like a custard/egg flavor) to name a few! As we eat, the music plays – Temptations, Roberta Flack, Jackson Five, all the way up to Prince and Rihanna. During dinner, we entertain each other with family stories – about my parents’ grandparents, our family history and my great, great grandfather’s post-Civil War migration from Rome, Georgia to Hopkinsville, Kentucky and eventually Indianapolis. We celebrate who we are and from where we came with great pride! Our Black History Month traditions will last for generations to come.”
Learn more about Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance’s inclusion and diversity initiative
With the full support of Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance’s executive leadership team, our company created an inclusion and diversity council in 2020. This council is representative of our workforce and consists of employees and agents with the support of executive sponsors. Each member brings a collection of skills and opinions that are considered significant to the success of the council. The primary focus is on the education of inclusion and diversity initiatives for the workforce and organization.
Why is diversity and inclusion important in the workplace?
Diversity brings many advantages to an organization such as increased performance and creativity, measurable profitability, stronger leadership involvement and better decision-making abilities. Employees with diverse backgrounds bring their own perspectives which lead to increased collaboration and cultivates innovation. Having a diverse workplace that encourages inclusion expands the talent pool to build more effective teams and leads to better representation for the customers, communities and organizations we serve.
How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
The best way to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace is to foster a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard and respected. In order to do this, we must recognize our unconscious biases and be aware of how they can affect others. Our biases are influenced by our background, culture and personal experiences. Understanding and overcoming these biases in the workplace will lead to collaboration, diversity of thought and innovation.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance?
Inclusion and diversity are important to our company because we strive to create and foster an environment where everyone feels confident and comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. We are committed to promoting inclusion and diversity by continuously educating ourselves and our organization through various initiatives.
These actions are demonstrated by building a culture of conscious inclusion and being intentional about creating an environment that encourages, supports, values and celebrates everyone.