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Black Lives Matter Movement and the Workplace

By: Erich TollDiversity Blog
3:000 Comments

On April 20, ex-police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. As we approach the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s horrific death, it’s time to redouble our efforts to support Black lives matter in the workplace.

Last summer, many of us marched in streets, donated to bail funds or racial justice organizations, adjusted workplace practices, and reached out to friends and family members. Are we still doing that? Are we still consciously working on and rebuilding the broken pieces of our society?

As racial tensions continue, it’s more important than ever that businesses take action alongside their employees. Corporate America has the power to influence change, by supporting Black lives matter in the workplace. In this blog, we’ll discuss 3 ways employers can make Black lives matter in the workplace.

Speak Out and Address What’s Happening

Following Floyd’s death, companies began to issue statements regarding their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including Black lives matter training for employees. This willingness to speak out and address what was happening in current events marked a turning point. In the past, corporate culture did not always support doing so.

Make sure your company speaks out and acknowledges the ongoing racial injustices in society. Express solidarity with the Black community and demonstrate your commitment to taking concrete steps toward change. If possible, list your goals and steps for the future. Be sure to take a deep dive, include how Blacks are affected by unconscious bias in the workplace.

Create Space to Listen and Learn

As part of the ongoing effort in the workplace, workplaces should foster Black lives matter company policies, to create a space for discussion about racial issues and find ways to give people of color a voice. How this is done can vary depending on the type of company, size of the company, and discretion of the management team. Consider one of the following options…

  • Hosting a town hall on race for employees, guest speakers, and experts
  • Promoting small group discussions
  • Promoting books, films, TED talks, etc will promote discussion

Whatever you decide to do, make sure the responsibility does not fall on members of the Black community within your workplace. They may be feeling overwhelmed with constantly needing to address systematic racism.

Demonstrate Your Commitment to the Cause

Speaking out and creating space to learn are two great steps towards change…but they aren’t change in themselves. To demonstrate their commitment to change in the workplace, employers should identify and implement tangible steps that they can address Black lives matter diversity and inclusion. Ask yourself…

  • How can I understand the racial inequities in my workplace?
  • How can I endeavor to create diverse and inclusive workplaces?
  • How can I establish programs and continually reassess them to ensure they achieve the goals I set?

Taking the time to learn about different perspectives is important, but no change will come unless businesses are willing to adopt initiatives that create real change.

Final Thoughts

First and foremost, the Black lives matter movement in your workplace should foster a culture of respect and support for Black employees. Demonstrating your support for the BLM movement by protesting racism and addressing the horrific presence of police brutality in our society can help foster dialogue in your workplace. Only then can you and your employees work toward tangible changes together.

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