Black History Month: How Tech Companies Are Honouring BHM

black history month in tech

Although lockdowns due to the ongoing pandemic have put a hold on many in-person events, tech companies around the world are finding new and innovative ways to celebrate Black History Month online in 2021. 

Here at Synapse, we’ve been (virtually) celebrating Black History Month by sharing facts, stories and additional resources that honour and celebrate the accomplishments of Black people and their communities.

We were curious to see how other tech companies are celebrating, so we’ve rounded up how some of the big names in the industry are honouring Black History Month.

Google 

This year, Google has continued it’s tradition of updating the Google doodle to honour several Black voices. One of the doodles in 2021, for example, celebrated internationally acclaimed poet Audre Lorde. As a civil rights activist, her work is best known for her reflections on racial and sexual prejudice.  

Source: CNet

CEO Sundar Pichai also announced the award of a $3 million grant to the NAACP to support their Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics program. 

IBM

Aside from scheduling a full roster of events throughout February to highlight and celebrate diversity and inclusion within their company and communities, IBM have recently made significant commitments to increase the training, hiring, and promotion of Black people in America.

As part of a coalition with other leading organizations (including AT&T and Walmart) called OneTen, the goal is to train, hire, and promote one million Black workers over the next ten years. 

Microsoft

Microsoft has taken an innovative approach to the celebration of BHM this year. They’re acknowledging and sharing the stories of various Black changemakers throughout modern American history through their education portal.

Having partnered with museums and cultural centres around the country, Microsoft is enabling children to access virtual tours and other immersive activities that shine a light on the contributions of African American people. 

Dubbed “The Legacy Project,” Microsoft has made the program available for free to all K-12 schools from Feb 1st-28th, 2021.

GoDaddy

This year, GoDaddy has partnered with one of their users to create a custom bow tie in honour of Black History Month. To support Black businesses and entrepreneurs, they have worked alongside Moziah Bridges of Mo’s Bows to design the bowtie with proceeds going to the Black upStart, an organization that supports aspiring Black entrepreneurs in their ventures. 

Apple

To commemorate BHM this year, Apple has produced a limited edition watch, specially designed for the occasion. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity Collection features a special band in the colours traditionally associated with BHM and a laser engraving on the pin which reads: “Truth. Power. Solidarity.” On the back crystal, a second engraving reads “Black Unity.” 

Source: Republic World

Plus, across the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Books, and Apple Podcasts, users can find curated lists of content from Black artists and entrepreneurs. 

Most notably, Apple has announced that a portion of the proceeds from sales of the watch will be donated to civil rights organizations. 

Amazon

Amazon did a lot of work in 2020 to increase Black representation amongst senior management within the organization. Having succeeded in doubling the representation of Black leadership last year, they are looking to the same again in the year ahead. Alongside these efforts, they are also running several initiatives throughout BHM to elevate Black voices both within their organization and in the wider Amazon community.

Through the Amazon Echo, users can ask Alexa about Black history facts by saying “Alexa, open Black History Facts.” They are also running several initiatives across multiple platforms to highlight Black-owned and operated businesses, such as the Amazon Launchpad.

They are also providing opportunities to Black entrepreneurs through initiatives such as the Amazon Business Academy which will host events alongside partners such as the California Black Chamber of Commerce to assist aspiring business people.

Black History Month is an opportunity for celebration and reflection in the tech community. Each year, organizations are finding more and more meaningful ways to honour the moment, and to find actionable ways to elevate Black voices, contributions, and opportunities.  

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