February marks Black History Month, a federally recognized celebration of Black achievement in the United States. While many commemorate this time by looking back at the many and significant contributions African-American individuals have made to this country, employers might celebrate Black History Month 2021 most appropriately with a critical look inward and forward.
As if COVID-19 was not enough for society to manage in 2020, the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, filmed by helpless onlookers, sent shock waves reverberating through our country, and lit anew a smoldering rage against racial inequality worldwide. Protesters took to the streets almost immediately; a minority expressed their fury through destruction of property and violence. Counter-protestors at times confronted them, resulting in further discord, destruction, and even death. Once again, the US was faced with the ugly truth: we continue to struggle with racism in our country, including in our institutions. Though discrimination today may be less insidious than that which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it nonetheless remains widespread and damaging.