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A COMMUNITY FOR ALLIES TO CONNECT WITH OTHER ALLIES

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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.

Please join to make the most out of this forum. I need you to help make change happen.


I am the mother to two amazing boys, who I love very much. The picture of them displayed was taken a few years ago when they were 2 and 5 years old. They are now teenagers – 14 and 17 and no way would they let me post an updated photograph of them, also its important for me to protect their privacy.

As they grow older and gain more independence, the more I worry about and for them. I always tell them that I am not worried about the way they will behave in public, but I am worried about the way other people will treat them or see them as a threat because they are Black. They both have amazing friends of all nationalities and creeds but the big world is full of people who will judge them by the colour of their skin. People will be afraid of them. I worry that I will not be able to protect them from those who fear them. A lot of you Allies reading this may be surprised but Black parents have the same thoughts and feelings about the safety and wellbeing of their offsprings. Why are our children being pulled over by the Police for no reason, why are they be followed around the supermarket by the security guard, why are women clutching their bags and purses tightly as they walk past and why are they not being shortlisted for a job interview or getting the job?

I do believe things will be much better for them than their grandparents and parents. The BLM movement, Covid 19 pandemic and all the civil rights protests before has brought the injustices that Black and minority people face everyday to the forefront and people are beginning to realise that enough is enough. It’s so promising to see every colour turn out to protest and take the knee. It’s also so amazing how many of you have reached out to me in support.

It is so important for us all to ensure that we are taking steps to stop and maybe eradicate racism throughout our society and especially in our work places and schools. Maybe one day – yes one day – my two boys and many others will not be (In the words of Martin Luther King Jr) judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

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Everyone should be wearing the D&I hat as it is needed now more than ever especially in the era of BLM. Chief Diversity & Inclusive Officers are leaving or roles are being cut. These roles are crucial and are needed at the table - voices need to be heard.

What changes should be made?

This is a perfect storm to provide great change.This is the moment to re-evaluate and re-assess. It’s a scary and sad moment but its about making impactful change and making the workplace different.

Organisations are at different stages of their D&I journey. Take a look at your D&I goals that have been set. Have you been achieving them? Do they need to change? The problems and challenges are not new. The D&I role is crucial. Re-evaluate where you are, hear from your employees and clients – what do they want? Is Diversity, Equality and Inclusion important? YES, it always has been. It is a first responder role. White people are leaning in and showing empathy and want change to happen.

Change can’t happen overnight – Data is needed to inform – Annual employee Surveys, take action to bring Black and minority groups forward. Use data to guide and have a focus on retention and hiring.

How do you counsel your organisation to become vocal on BLM

Be active, call out things you see that are not right – there is strength in numbers. Voice things, make suggestions. We all need help in developing the answers and making change. Your employees/ customers/clients want to see how you are approaching and dealing with D&I and the solidarity statement you put out. How do you address the centuries of systematic racism within your company? – we needed this pressure to drive change.

Companies need D&I Champions, Black and Minority Employees need Allies. All Employees should be D&I Champions and Allies. Ask questions, challenge. We all have to see ourselves as champions. This is an EVERYONE issue regardless of your colour. Who is speaking up for your isolated and lonely Black and minority employees and colleagues? Directors of power within organisations don’t know everything, they may not be interested. It is important to create spaces for them to hear other voices. This moment is causing everyone to make changes . Look in the mirror and not outside the window.

Look at the structures and systems that racism has been built on and get rid of them. Create structures of how to move forward in a sustainable way

The role L&D Plays

Look at L&D broadly to tackle what is a big problem. One off Training is not enough, it has to be ongoing. Audit courses, what is needed?

Bias adjusters

Basic Diversity

Microaggressions

Allyship

What can I do as a white employee to help my Black and Minority colleagues?

You could have done more, you could have tried harder, you could have pushed back, you could have spoken out – but its not too late. Use your privilege to make changes – starting NOW.


Have cross cultural friends. Not just your Black and minority colleagues you work with, friends you hang out with outside of work - If you don’t know or understand the challenges that Black and minority people go through, how can you standup and make changes. Create different spheres of friendship groups. Question the composition of your company. Is there lack of diversity in the people who hold positions of power? What about new hires – how many diverse graduates has your company employed? What recruitment agencies are being used – the ones that get you the same non diverse shortlists? Hold your company accountable.

Remember – its not too late.

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What are microaggressions?

Micro-aggression is the term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal indignities whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial insults. The person offending is often unaware that they have engaged in demearning or rude comments. It is important that you make them visible to the offending person.


What makes microaggressions different from other rude or insensitive comments?

Microaggressions are more than just rude or insensitive comments. They are very specific remarks, questions or actions that has to do with a person’s race and often happen casually, frequently and often without any harm intended in everyday life. The one that happens to me often is - Why can’t you have a normal name? I will call you Sarah. I find this rude and degrading. My name is unusual, just ask me how to pronounce it - no offence will be taken. I know it may take a few goes to get it right)


How do microaggressions harm people?

Although they are seemingly small and innocent offences, they can take a psychological toll on the mental health of their recipients.

"It can be difficult to distinguish micro aggressions from typical rudeness"

Some examples

Microaggressions

Where are you from

You are a credit to your race unrepresented groups are not intelligent

You are so articulate

No, where are you actually from

Where were you born

You speak good English

Your name is hard to pronounce

Message

You are a foreigner

People of colour/minority groups are not intelligent


Microaggression

You are a credit to your race

You are so articulate

Message

People of colour or minority groups are not intelligent

Microaggression

When I look at you I don’t see colour

There is only one race – the human race

Message

Denying a persons race


Microaggression

Why do you have to be so loud/animated

Don’t be so aggressive

Message

Leave your cultural baggage outside


Microaggression

A Black person being mistaken for a service worker – shop assistant, security guard, waiter etc.

Message

People of colour could not possibly occupy high-status positions.

You don’t belong

You are a lesser being


Microaggression

I'm not racist.I have a black friend

Message

Saying you are not racist is denying the larger social context in which all of us are living


"The power of racial micro aggressions lies in their invisibility to the perpentrator

How Allies can fight Microaggression

Allies can help because you may be in an equal status relationship to the perpetrator.


· Become aware of your own biases and racism and confront those beliefs.

· Call out microaggressions when you see them.

. If someone tells you that a remark you made was harmful, be open to criticism, listen to why it was offensive, thank them and apologise.

. Educate employees, colleagues, friends and family about microaggressions


Allies be bold and speak out.


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