This Black History Month, we’re taking time to learn, understand, and celebrate. We understand the value in taking real, impactful action. That’s why we focused our efforts in commemorating this month through organising internal activities that would widen our knowledge and awareness of what we can do to be better allies, both as a business and individually.
After taking part in sessions led by experts in the field of diversity and inclusion, we’ve collated a list of lessons that we pledge to take forward, this month, every month, all year round.
To speak up, even when the issue doesn’t affect you, carries incredible impact. It is up to us to elevate the voices that may feel silenced, call out discrimination when we see it, and show up for our black colleagues. It’s time to use our privilege wherever we can.
The more we talk about D&I, the more progress we’ll make.
While it can be a sensitive topic, it’s important to be brave and make a conscious effort to have uncomfortable conversations. This can be a scary prospect, particularly if you don’t feel qualified to talk on the subject. However, normalising issues around diversity and inclusion will inevitably help eliminate biases and create a comfortable working environment, for everyone.
People over policies.
Businesses can often mask lack of commitment to the cause through institutional policies and rules, but real change should be people-led and seen in the culture of an organisation. There is no use in having a policy on discrimination if the culture of your organisation is intrinsically racist and team members are facing bias on a regular basis.
Change needs to operate at all levels.
Racism can only be tackled when we come together behind a collective message. This requires working together, regardless of your position in an organisation, to truly achieve positive change. There is a power in unifying and speaking up on issues that are prevalent in a business because it is not just one person’s responsibility, it’s everyone’s.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Tackling racism is like chipping away at a centuries-big ice-berg. It won’t happen overnight but everything we do, no matter how big or small, is contributing to progress. Businesses should be patient with the work they are doing to effect change and trust that every small step made is making a huge impact in the long run.
Thank you to Ben Osu, Senior Lead in Diversity & Inclusion at Everton, and Samia Benbrih, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Manager at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, for bringing so much knowledge to each session and giving us the opportunity to challenge ourselves to do better moving forward.