Supporting Black Colleagues in the workplace takes courage
As organisations continue to emphasise diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, the evolution from passive allyship to genuine solidarity becomes essential. While allyship is a crucial starting point, the need to create lasting change through solidarity becomes essential and solidarity requires a much deeper commitment. For all workplaces, this shift means making proactive efforts with integrity to support their Black colleagues. Let’s explore our top five ways to make this transition to foster a more inclusive workplace.
- Amplify Black Voices: Transitioning from allyship to solidarity means using your platform to amplify Black voices and experiences in your workplace. In meetings and discussions, actively listen to your Black colleagues’ perspectives and acknowledge their contributions. You can elevate their ideas by giving credit where it’s due and ensuring their voices are heard and respected.
- Actively Engage in Challenging Conversations: Solidarity means showing integrity and engaging in uncomfortable conversations about racism and discrimination. Be willing to address microaggressions, fragility, and inappropriate comments where you encounter them in your workplace, because you will. By challenging such behaviour, you contribute to a safer and more respectful working environment for everyone.
- Collaborate and Take Action: Move past passive allyship by actively collaborating with your Black colleagues on DEI initiatives. One way to do this would be to actively support and ask for the resources needed for sustainable sponsorship programmes. Your involvement demonstrates a genuine commitment to working together for tangible change.
- Advocate for Structural Change: While allyship means supporting individuals, solidarity calls for advocating for structural changes in your organisation, even when the stakes are high. Work towards inclusive policies, transparent hiring practices, and equitable performance evaluations. Collaborate with HR and leadership to identify areas for improvement and suggest concrete solutions that promote inclusion for Black workers. Engage with consulting providers, such as Fearless Futures to help you.
- Continuous Learning: Solidarity requires an ongoing commitment to learning about the lived experiences, challenges, and history of the Black community. To show solidarity means to take initiative to educate ourselves on systemic racism and how it informs societies today, rather than leaning on your marginalised colleagues for your education. Having this knowledge equips you to engage in meaningful conversations and advocate for change. Fearless Futures have a wealth of blogs for you to engage in reading, webinars, and workshops to help you expand your personal understanding or get in touch with our team to create change for your organisation’s ecosystem.
Remember that when it comes to solidarity: you are what you do. Put the work in to learn about racism and how it shows up and apply this consistently to make a more positive contribution and impact. Solidarity requires dedication, self-education, and sustained effort – as with all DEI it’s not a one-time endeavour. By stepping into solidarity, more inclusive changes will happen in the workplace. But it goes further than that: if we all show solidarity, we contribute towards a broader societal change towards justice.