As we celebrate Black History Month in February, it’s crucial for allies in veterinary medicine to actively engage in actions that promote equality, inclusivity, and cultural understanding. Drawing inspiration from our previous exploration of celebrating Juneteenth, this blog post will guide you on how to incorporate those principles into your veterinary practice, not only throughout Black History Month, but as a practice to continue throughout the year.
Start by educating yourself about the historical context of Black History Month and the contributions of Black individuals to veterinary medicine. Explore resources such as AVMA’s Racial Equity Book List and Veterinary DEI Resources we’ve highlighted on Harbor.vet. Use this knowledge as a foundation for sharing accurate information with your team and clients to continue their educational and explorative journey. Remember, it’s okay to not know everything, and that everyone needs a place to start.
Inclusive Training Programs:
Build on the concept of fostering inclusivity by incorporating diversity and cultural competence training programs like Journey for Teams 15 minute Educational Modules. This program will help your teams foster a more understanding and supportive work environment, while also honoring your time as a veterinary professional in a busy practice.
Amplify Black Voices:
Emphasize the importance of amplifying the voices of Black team members within your practice. Provide opportunities for them to lead discussions, share their experiences, and contribute to decision-making processes. Establish a designated space, such as a bulletin board, to showcase informative posters, infographics, or flyers in shared areas. These visuals can focus on Black History Month, noteworthy Black doctors educators, and prominent figures in veterinary medicine, or the impactful contributors to the profession. This visual display serves as a catalyst for curiosity, fosters a culture of continuous learning, and facilitates meaningful discussions among both staff and clients.
Community Outreach and Engagement:
Extend your celebration beyond the clinic by engaging with the local community. Collaborate with local organizations to organize events that celebrate Black culture, history, and contributions to veterinary medicine. Contribute to groups championing equality, social justice, and diversity in the veterinary sphere. Seek out programs or scholarships tailored to assist Black students in their pursuit of veterinary careers. Your support for these initiatives actively contributes to breaking down systemic barriers and nurturing fairness within the veterinary profession.
Here is a list of organizations in the veterinary community you can support and amplify:
By incorporating these practices into your veterinary clinic during Black History Month, you not only celebrate the rich history of the Black community but also contribute to building a more inclusive and supportive environment in veterinary medicine. Let us strive to create a profession that values diversity, advocates for equality, and actively works towards a more inclusive future, both in February and throughout the year.