When it comes our professional lives, how do we learn and support each other in the fight against racism?
The Black Lives Matter movement has reminded us that we can no longer be complacent and complicit about racism. We must acknowledge the systemic racism that exists in our society and we must understand and transform our own bias as well as how we can each effect the change that is needed. Ending racism is not a trend — it is an ongoing commitment.
Moussa Magassa is a specialist in equity, diversity, inclusion, human rights and partnerships at the University of Victoria. Here, he provides his advice on creating truly inclusive workplaces:
- Educate yourselves about the real issues as defined and described by those affected.
- Approach and sincerely and actively listen to people who are most affected by racism and other discrimination.
- Be responsible with your learning and education. People can only tell you what is wrong and how to fix it, but you are responsible to believe them and accept this new knowledge of reality.
- Involve people on the margins in your community in building plans and projects.
- Understand that good life is when all communities fully participate equitably in society.
- Listen, respect and trust marginalized people’s voices — and don’t edit what they are saying and asking for.
- Know that the issues that affect them are also your responsibility to address and help fix because you belong with them to the same human family.
- Root out and disrupt the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality. You are no one without the rest of us. Remember that!
- Standing with those marginalized members of our community will definitely benefit you as a human being, your business and organization. You should know that a healthy community creates the space for you to strive and succeed.
- Remember that our diversity (differences, as in our socio-cultural identities) exists — but inclusion needs to be created.
- By excluding others, you also inadvertently excluding and limiting yourself from experiencing your full human potential!
Moussa Magassa is also the founder of Magassa Intercultural Capacity Building. He and his team offer curriculum development, training, group facilitation and consulting services to support increased diversity, equity, inclusion and conflict resolution for organizations.