The Anti-racism Small Business Pledge

Anti-racist: those who speak and act in ways that advance racial equity in society; the act of interrupting racism.

Source

Since early June 2020, in the wake of international #BlackLivesMatters protests responding to the horrific violence against Black Americans, I realised just how little I know about racism in my own country of Australia, and my role in upholding it. During this time, I began following entrepreneur, educator and activist Rachel Rodgers on Instagram, and subsequently have signed up to the Anti-Racism Small Business Pledge she created.

For information about how we could reimagine small business and a link to the pledge click here to go to Rachel’s website and townhall recording with an impressive panel of speakers. To download the pledge, click here.

Below is a copy of the pledge. At the risk of this being seen as a checklist/checkbox exercise, I’m am listing the actions I’ve taken so far, and working on, as a way of being publicly accountable to the pledge. I intend to update this each quarter:

July – September 2020

  1. Name white supremacy and the impact of racism on both our personal and professional lives. Acknowledge the omni-present existence of white supremacy and how it operates and is supported in your company. Name it in your company values, business operations, discuss it with your employees and discuss it with your business partners, clients and the greater community.
    1. Action: Published a blog post and email newsletter committing to anti-racism.
  2. Engage in anti-racist education for you and your team. Commit money and time to be educated on anti-racism on an ongoing basis for you and your team. This is not a one-time thing. Antiracism must be active. We recommended taking courses, reading books and participating in a book study, hiring a DEI consultant to come in and offer training to you and your whole team, etc. Active anti-racism learning should take place on a quarterly basis.
    1. Action: Joined the Me and White Supremacy Learning Circle on Facebook, based on the book of the same name by Layla Saad.
    2. Action: Currently listening to How to Be Antiracist by Ibrim X. Kendi
    3. Action: Attended a Cultural Insights Session with First Nations entrepreneur and educator Dixie Crawford of Supply Nation.
    4. Action: Watched In My Blood It Runs (and followed up with a donation to Children’s Ground, and signing and sharing the calls to take action to support a First Nations Education System in Australia and for juvenile justice reform to #RaiseTheAge of legal responsibility from 10 to at least 14).
    5. Action: Watched 13th, a documentary explaining the rise of mass incarceration in America.
    6. Action: Watched How Racist Are You? – Jane Elliott’s Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise, involving adults in the UK.
  3. Commit to open-conflict and allow discomfort. When conflict arises on your team and within your communities, let it arise. Don’t try to hide it, delete it, or ignore it. Acknowledge the conflict, allow space for community members to be heard and deal with the underlying issue rather than demonizing the community member who raised the issue. These conversations are happening regardless, allow them to happen in your spaces and be a part of the conversation. Take action to implement the needs expressed by community members. Train your community moderators on how to have culturally responsive communications and handle conflict online.
    1. Action: As a Certified Dare To Lead™ Facilitator, I commit to the BBREG Belonging Statement found here. This means as a leadership facilitator, engaging in discussions around race and other forms of systemic oppression are part of my work. I am a constant work in progress in learning more about, and partnering with experts in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  4. Invest a portion of your monthly company budget to the Black community. Review your company budget and you will find that your white dollars stay in the white community. Commit to spending a portion of your company budget, we recommend 30%, on hiring Black employees, vendors and contractors, using Black-owned software and services and hiring Black speakers, purchasing Black-authored books and more. Invest in the Black community, not just once, but on an ongoing basis.
    1. Action: Signed up to Pay The Rent monthly
    2. Action: Purchased Welcome To Country by Marcia Langton
    3. Action: Purchased an Acknowledgement of Country plaque from Jharmbi and Co for my studio
  5. Express your sincere, long-term commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization. Create a permanent statement that illustrates your commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity and anti-racism that goes on all of your external facing documents (website, job announcements, publications, contracts, etc). It should be written from a place of realistic language about where you are and also be aspirational about where your business is trying to go. It should outline specific steps that you will take to get there.
    1. Action: This is a work in progress. It has started here, and I’ll continue to work on it over the coming weeks.

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