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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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We are traumatised. What are you doing about it?

The Black and Brown citizens of the UK, US and around the world have been traumatised for centuries and 2020 has been hard for us. Continued racial inequalities and injustices, murders of Black men and women, The Covid 19 pandemic and its rates of infection and fatality has exposed the consequences of mortality and economic disparities and the racism we face in our communities and work places has left us drained and asking WHY?

It is hence not surprising that many Black and Brown people are experiencing anxiety and anger. We feel tired, exhausted and traumatised. What we see today in society and the workplace is not ok. My emotions have led me to mobilise and take action. This is not the case for others. If our emotions are left unchecked, it can lead us to neglect ourselves which is not good.

The way chronic stress and trauma is affecting Black and Brown employees in the workplace is not being addressed and discrimination at work only makes it worse. Depression is very high with fear of future experiences with racism and bias being linked to depression and anxiety.

HR and Line Managers play an important role in eliminating racism in the workplace and supporting Black and Brown Employees. HR, how will you make changes in the workplace that could shape the future of inclusion and representation?

Firstly, you cannot be silent. As protectors of your business you must create environments where diversity and inclusion are nurtured and encouraged. Your Black and Brown employees must feel safe and have a sense of belonging. We know that more diverse companies are more successful.

Here are a few things that can be done:

1. Open up a dialogue – what can your company, leadership and employees do to support their Black and Brown colleagues? Ask questions such as - How can we hire more diversely, Are we paying Black and Brown employees fairly and do they have the same growth opportunities. Are you listening?

2. Get leadership involved – your employees need to hear a strong anti-racist stance from the executive leadership.

3. Review your existing policies and create new ones – around social media use, hiring procedures and interview practices.

4. Build transparent open-door policies to encourage Black and Brown Employees to submit complaints without fear or adverse consequences.

5. Encourage your employees to be active Allies.

6. Introduce D&I training – company wide from top down

7. Support and give back to the Black community in your area

8. Reflect and acknowledge your shortcomings – every company has to start from somewhere.

So HR, you recognise there is work to do and you need to be more active in your support of your Black and Brown Employees. Now is the time to take action, its not too late. I am happy to talk further.

Chikere Igbokwe is a D&I Consultant and runs Training, Webinars, Lunch and Learns on:

Race and Allyship

Unconscious Bias


Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent

Creating a sustainable D&I Strategy

For further details contact me at:


07590 500133

Great books to read as recommended by the Allyship Community

1. Why I am no longer speaking to White People about Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

2. White Fragility – Robin Diangelo

3. New Daughters of Africa – Margaret Busby

4. Black & British – A forgotten History – David Olusoga

5. Love In Colour – Bolu Babalola

6. BRIT ish – Afua Hirsh

7. The Thing Around your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

8. How to be an ANTIRACIST – Ibram X Kendi

9. Natives – Akala

10. My Sister The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

11. Return of the King – William Dalrymple

12. Koh-i-Noor – William Dalrymple

13. Anarchy – William Dalrymple

14. Why are all the Black Kids sitting at the Back of the Cafeteria – Beverly Daniel Tatum

15. Me and White Supremacy – Layla Saad

16. Becoming – Michelle Obama

17. Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

18. So you want to talk about Race – Ijeoma Oluo

19. Race and Class – Angela Davies

20. Diversify – June Sapong

21. James Baldwin Books

22. The New Jim Crow – Michelle Alexander

23. Invisible Woman – Caroline Criado Perez

24. Racism at Work – The danger of indifference – Binnaa Kandola

25. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

By Marie Prendergast - Talent Development

Being an ally is confusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, upsetting, hard work and scary. I know what you’re thinking...cry me a river! But please let me explain this self-centred statement. I am a person who thrives on fixing problems and making things better for people. My first answer to fixing things is to educate myself. So that’s what I did with BLM. I tried listening, reading and very quickly I learnt how uneducated I was. Reading made me realise how many things I was blind to, including Black history and inequalities in the System and Society. I did not understand ‘colour blindness’ and had no clue what ‘white privilege’ was. This hit me hard as I considered myself to be passionate about equality.

Also, for the first time I felt like my learning was not giving me the answers I expected. I expected to be able to discover ways I could make things better. What I did learn was that the answers were not simple, but more than ever I felt compelled to help make a change. Yes, being an ally is confusing, uncomfortable, frustrating, upsetting, hard work and scary. But it is my white privilege that actually feels those things. It is also my white privilege that I can step away from all those difficult feelings and get on with life as I know it. I am not prepared to do this. As an ally I am committing to keep listening and learning so I can help to support change.


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