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Understand the discrimination faced by black and minority people, support, gain information and take action. You can't be an Ally unless you understand the problem.

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Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Windrush: Honouring the Legacy and Impact

This year marks the momentous 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush to the shores of the United Kingdom. The Windrush generation, consisting of thousands of individuals from the Caribbean, made significant contributions to post-war Britain. Today, I have the privilege of celebrating this milestone, as both my grandmother and mother were part of this remarkable chapter in history. Their journey from Trinidad to the UK not only shaped their lives but also paved the way for my own existence.

The Windrush Generation: Triumph in the Face of Adversity:

In the aftermath of World War II, Britain faced a shortage of labour and sought to rebuild the nation. The British government invited individuals from Commonwealth countries to fill the gaps in various sectors. This initiative led to the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, carrying the first wave of Caribbean immigrants who became known as the Windrush generation.

The Journey of My Family:

My grandmother and mother embarked on their own transformative journey, leaving behind the familiarity of Trinidad for an uncertain future in the UK. They possessed an unwavering determination to seek opportunities, build better lives, and contribute to their new home.

The Impact on My Life:

As I reflect upon the 75th anniversary of Windrush, I am filled with immense gratitude. The sacrifices and resilience of my grandmother and mother have directly shaped my life. It is because of their bravery and vision that I exist today. Their experiences instilled in me a deep appreciation for my heritage and the importance of preserving the legacy of the Windrush generation.

The Cultural Enrichment:

The Windrush generation brought with them vibrant cultures, traditions, and a rich tapestry of Caribbean influence. They contributed immensely to the fields of arts, music, literature, and sports, enriching the cultural landscape of Britain. Their legacy continues to be celebrated through Caribbean carnivals, festivals, and the preservation of cultural traditions that have become integral parts of British society.

The Fight for Justice:

In recent years, the Windrush scandal exposed the injustices faced by the descendants of the Windrush generation. Many individuals were wrongfully detained, denied access to healthcare, or even threatened with deportation despite their rightful citizenship. The anniversary serves as a reminder of the ongoing battle for justice and the importance of rectifying the harms caused by systemic failures.

Honouring the Legacy: Our Collective Responsibility:

As we commemorate this significant anniversary, it is crucial to honour the contributions of the Windrush generation. We must actively work to create inclusive societies that recognise and appreciate the diverse heritage and experiences of all citizens. This entails challenging racism, advocating for fair immigration policies, and promoting equal opportunities for all.

Celebrating Diversity and Unity:

The Windrush generation and their descendants have made immense contributions to the fabric of British society. They have shaped our communities, enriched our culture, and contributed to the growth and prosperity of the nation. It is through celebrating our diversity, fostering understanding, and embracing unity that we can truly honour the legacy of Windrush.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of Windrush, let us recognise the extraordinary journeys of the Windrush Generation who built new lives in Britain. We owe a debt of gratitude to their courage, resilience, and determination. Their legacy lives on in the generations that followed, including my own. By acknowledging and celebrating the importance of Windrush, we continue the work of creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

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Its International Women’s Day today – yay! this year’s theme is #Embrace Equity and I want to talk about Allyship - how women should be Allies for each other and why and how White women should be allies to Black and Brown women. As a Black woman, I know how important and valuable it has been for me to have White Women as Allies. A Mckinsey study stated that Black women face more microaggressions in the workplace compared to other races. Shocking for some – but not for everyone. So, what should be and can be done about this?

Conversations around diversity have changed since 2020. We are having braver and bolder conversations and simply being an Ally is not enough – we need to be Active Allies. We need to put the work in and realise the importance of allyship in the workplace.

White women hold more managerial positions than Black and Brown women and are hence in positions of power and influence. Black and Brown women are underrepresented in many fields and face challenges within organisations based on their race and gender. This lack of representation in some work environments can cause many issues including a sense of lack of belonging and it is important to be able to build a solid working relationship with each other.

So, do you see yourself as an Ally to Black and Brown women? Where can you start? - By understanding what true Allyship is and being intentional about the amount of work, commitment and effort that you need to put in to become an Active Ally, you can start to show up as an Active Ally at work and make a difference.

Let’s start with defining what Allyship is.

What is Allyship?

Allyship in the workplace is critical to understand the experiences of all women is not the same. Although as a white ally, you will never truly understand the experiences of Black and Brown woman in the workplace, by showing up as an ally, you can use your platform and privilege to create change.

Not one definition fully defines what Allyship truly is, but let’s start with this –

Allyship is a lifelong journey of building relationships. Allyship is not a single action, it is ongoing action with a focus on other people and not on yourself.

Allyship starts with an examination of yourself to better understand the privilege, power and access available to you as a result of the different identity groups to which you belong. And importantly, allyship requires Education about the communities you are showing allyship towards. It requires you to educate yourself on the issues that may not affect you – even when it is difficult and especially when it is difficult. This is part of your journey to becoming a true and authentic Ally. As an Ally your job is to make change happen and we need more Active Allies!

Why is Allyship Important

We spend a lot of time at work – at least one third of your lifetime will be spent at work– (a very long time) and when inequity occurs it can have a detrimental impact on one’s mental and physical health. Because of discrimination, inequity and bias in the workplace, employees who are not part of the majority group are not given the same opportunities and do not have the power to create change. This is where allies are important – they use their voice to amplify ALL voices. The workplace is where we can use our voices and privilege to make a difference.

Allyship is powerful, it empowers everyone to get involved. Because Allies use their power and privilege to create change, they put the work in to understand barriers and situations. It gives everyone a role to play.

What you can do to be an Active Ally

· Know your Why!

· Educate yourself.

· Be aware of your bias.

· Learn to Listen – just Listen!

· Acknowledge your privilege and use it to create change!

· Amplify the voices of Black and Brown women.

· Keep the conversation going with other white people

· Support and take action

· Speak up

· Find ways to make and push for change within your workplace e.g. in Recruitment, pay, promotions etc

· Find ways to make change within your community, friendship groups and family

· Don’t ask Black and Brown women to work for free

· Dismantle systems of oppressions that you may have benefitted from.

· Don’t let the fear of making a mistake prevent you from your journey

· Remember, Allyship is a life long journey – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

How to Move from Awareness to Action

So remember, Allyship is a journey and it does not just mean hiring diverse employees, it’s a process which means ensuring you have buy- in from senior leadership and creating a plan to create change, bringing diversity to the table and making it EVERYONES responsibility. Understanding that the experience of every woman in the workplace is not the same and some women have more privilege than others and experience discrimination is important.

Understand your Why allyship is important, What needs to be done and How it is going to be achieved. Know what Allyship is, how it can be good for business and create inclusive cultures where EVERY employee can feel less isolated and thrive.

Put the work in to educate yourself and create safe spaces to have conversations. And most importantly, make this a lifelong commitment.

So make a commitment this IWD 2023 to become an Active Ally and make a difference.

Contact me to find out about the 30 day Allyship Challenge, Allyship Workshops and Webinars and a list of resources.

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I delayed posting this on the 1st of June - Pride Month, because I knew that there would be plethora of posts about Pride. But what does it really mean to be an Active Ally for the LGBTQ+ Community?

Being an Ally is just not for 1day or 1week or 1 year. Active Allyship means that we should be Active Allies ALL the time. Allies can be some of the most effective and powerful voices for the LGBTQ+ Community but you have to be consistent, active and do a lot of self work.

So below are a few tips, to help you on your Active Allyship Journey. It is going to be hard work. YOU have to put in the work. And this is what stops many people from being effective Active Allies.

So firstly, understand what an Ally is. An Ally is someone who uses their power and privilege to advocate for people with marginalised identities.

But also remember that Allyship is also:

  1. Self Education

  2. Listening

  3. Having difficult conversations an creating safe spaces at work to have these conversations

  4. Acknowledging your privilege and using you privilege to create change

  5. Being Brave and Bold

  6. Speaking up when you see or hear an injustice

  7. Staying engaged - even after pride month ends

  8. Using your platform to create positive change

  9. Learning - from your mistakes

  10. Confronting your won prejudices and bias

  11. Knowing that language matters

Allyship is a life long journey with no end. It just takes one person to be an active and other employees step up. So remember, LGBTQ+ Allyship is not just about the rainbow flags and the month of June, think of it as an ACTION 365 days of the year!

Over the Months of June, July and August, I am running Active Allyship Workshops. Speak to your organisation about coming on one of the workshops and bring a colleague. for further details, contact me

Remember, Allyship is a marathon, not a sprint.

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