Black History Month

Monday, 15 February 2021

Brought to you by AmCham's Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Article by Donald Betts, Lawyer, Norton Rose-Fulbright and Fiona Sheppard, Diversity and Inclusion Leader ANZ, Johnson and Johnson 



In America, February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions made by African-American people by giving everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. 

Black History Month is celebrated in the United States and Canada, and observed by the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom. 

In the spirit of Black History Month, AmCham recognises its members:
- Norton Rose Fulbright makes an historic appointment of Global and US Chairwoman Shauna Johnson Clark, the first woman of colour to chair an American Law 200 firm.  
- UPS has announced its ‘Proudly Unstoppable’ campaign supporting Black entrepreneurs by releasing a new limited edition express box artwork designed by Brooklyn-based Black South Asian artist Sophie Yeshi as well as a new business grant program investing in Black-owned businesses.
- Microsoft has collaborated with 13 museums / cultural institutions to deliver a virtual journey through Black History. It will also showcase Black History through a series of Xbox and Windows games, tv shows and movies. 

To better understand black history, Donald Betts, AmCham Diversity and Inclusion committee member is joined by Greenland podcast co-host Diana Elliott and New York Times best-selling author Mark McCormick for a candid discussion about Black History Month and why it is celebrated. To listen to the podcast, select this link.  

Diana Elliot at the start of the podcast (5:45) mentions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the context of Black History Month.  In Australia there are two important national events that are recognised and celebrated by not only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, but by Australians from all walks of life. National Reconciliation Week (NRW) remains the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. Following NRW during the month of July, the annual NAIDOC week celebrations are held (NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’). Both important events celebrate the shared histories, cultures, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and contribute to the reconciliation of the nation. Mark McCormick’s words in reference to Black History Month is still very relevant to the reconciliation journey in Australia: “There are still people who don’t fully acknowledge what happened in the past, and how the past still shapes today and will still shape the future.”

Please enjoy this curated podcast conversation and leverage it to spark your own conversations in your community and workplace about Black History Month and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation Action Plans. 

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