#BlackHistoryMonth is an annual celebration which highlights the achievements of Black communities across the globe. Each February, it's observed in the United States and many other countries, including here in Canada.
During #BlackHistoryMonth and year-round, Twitter Blackbirds (@Blackbirds), our Business Resource Group (BRG) for members and allies of the African diaspora at Twitter, leads efforts to showcase the finest in Black talent at Twitter plus talent on our service and in our communities. As the global co-chair of @Blackbirds, I’m pleased to share some of the local and global efforts you’ll be seeing this February from Twitter.
Our hashtag for 2022 is #TakeUpSpace, inspired by a growth mindset through psychological safety because it reminds us that we matter. If our programming, events, activations, and partnerships are the message, #TakeUpSpace is the signature that gives permission to belong and thrive as we are. Taking up space isn’t about being the center of attention, it’s about speaking up for what we believe in, knowing our worth, building our table and bringing chairs for our community by simply letting our presence be felt.
Our team worked with artists Juliette Mothe and Williams Chechet to showcase sketches that reflect on what loving oneself, finding one’s voice and taking up space means to them visually. For the month of February, Tweeting the #TakeUpSpace hashtag will unlock a custom Black History Month Twitter emoji and add some colour to your Tweets on desktop and mobile.
For Twitter employees like Melika Hope, a director of product management based in Toronto, the hashtag also speaks to realities that many of us have felt during our respective careers.
“A major challenge throughout my career has been feeling like the ‘only’ - I’ve frequently been the youngest person in the room, the only person of colour, the only woman. In some ways it felt like I was invisible, but in others, I felt like there was a spotlight shining on me. After a while, I figured if I was going to stand out, I should do it in a way that would motivate and inspire others like me to find their voice and feel comfortable in every space they exist in. I #TakeUpSpace for this purpose, and am excited to see all the efforts Twitter is taking to make this even easier over BHM!”
We’ll be hosting a series of events for Twitter staff, so colleagues worldwide can join in the conversation and experience. These will include Q&As with various Twitter notables, the sharing of custom cookbooks and recipes for team members, workshops on wellness and financial literacy, and much more.
Giving back to our community is another important part of our work for both the @Blackbirds and our Twitter Canada office overall. This includes supporting organizations like Operation Black Vote Canada (@BlackVoteCanada), a non-profit, multi-partisan organization that supports the election of Black people to public office.
We also encourage Canadians and everyone on Twitter to learn and listen to the many incredible voices who use our service every day. In this spirit, we have created a Diversify Your Feed Twitter list from our Twitter Canada account. We first debuted this list in 2020 and are regularly adding to top Black voices from across Canada from the worlds of media, entertainment, academic, literature, sports and culture. You can follow it today to uplevel your timeline 12 months a year.
Twitter believes in the unmatched power of the individual’s voice and the power of sharing stories, learning more about the world, and connecting with others across borders, oceans and time zones . This is how we #TakeUpSpace as a community and we will use the momentum gained from #BlackHistoryMonth to continue to guide us forward.