Earlier this week, after conducting interviews with a number of people on the streets of Detroit, I got on my virtual soapbox to share thoughts on why I feel Black History Month is in desperate need of rebranding.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive an inpouring of feedback across social media, email, and text affirming that I’m not alone in this assessment.
You shared your thoughts, ideas, and actionable approaches for enhancing the predominant narrative around BHM.
This energy is so encouraging. It lets me know that folks are genuinely interested in transforming BHM in a meaningful way. Taking all of your feedback into account, I came up with the following
5 Ways to Turn BHM Into a Month of Action:
1.Shop Black – Make it a badge of honor to dine black; purchase art, clothes, and groceries from black-owned businesses. Then make a call to action on social media for others to join you. #BHM18 #shopblack #BHMaction
2. Make Three Resolutions – What will you do to uplift the collective body of African Americans? You can mentor a young person or someone in your company; consider starting, investing in, or mentoring a small black-owned business, or you can commit to educating your children on their heritage.
3. Start a Tradition – Start your own annual tradition to celebrate BHM in a meaningful way. You can host a dinner where everyone comes to share results from steps 1-3, or it can be as simple as sharing the stories of unsung black heroes on your social media timeline. Begin a BHM ceremony within your realm of influence.
4. Conduct a Random Acts of Kindness. Make dinner for a senior neighbor, deliver food or goods directly to the homeless, or purchase books for a struggling college student this semester. Include a BHM note of encouragement and gratitude and BAM- a new BHM service tradition is born.
5. Incorporate Stories of Everyday Heroes – Who inspires you on a personal level? Let them know, share that testimonial, celebrate the individuals who have an impact on your everyday life. From the bus stop to the board room, we interact with contemporary heroes every single day.
It’s time to level up! This BHM, my family and I are vowing to fully engage. Want to join me? Choose at least one of the above actions to implement over the next 28 days and share your experience on Twitter, Instagram, or FB using hashtag #rebrandBHM Together, I believe we can create a grassroots movement. Let’s do this!
Shawn H. Wilson
Shawn’s social entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to innovation has brought value to Fortune 500 companies and “A” list celebrities alike. The consummate social and tech entrepreneur, Shawn has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post and during keynote speeches at MIT, Harvard and the Clinton Global Initiative University. Shawn's responsibilities with Ford Motor Company Fund include driving social and economic mobility in multicultural communities through inclusion and access to the innovation economy.