The work I do focuses on anti-racism. To be exact, I help organisations to have healthy conversations about race, as a way to implement anti-racism strategies. Along with the fantastic facilitators from the Pause network, I ran a workshop at the recent Pause People Conference 2021. Using a framework that gets people to look at barriers to discussing race, I helped conference delegates to reflect on their own possible avoidance. People talked in a safe and honest way. It was eye opening and felt quite groundbreaking.
When I mention the work I do, people either roll their eyes, then say, “why are we still talking about this?” or say,“that’s amazing… it is very much needed!” Both are good points and highlight the importance of this topic. Anti-racism and healthy discussions around it are very significant because, although we’ve come a long way as a nation, there is still further to go.
I started race work in 2018, after the minister of my local church asked me to lead a discussion for members of our community. Attendees where male, female, young, old, black, white, brown, mixed heritage, LGBT+ and from various parts of the world. It was honest and very powerful. The outcome of this highly emotive session was the value of creating safe and healthy dialogue. Things went a little quiet after this workshop… then 2020 happened!
Anti-racism shot to the forefront of organisational strategy and is relevant now more than ever. The public murder of George Floyd, along with the disproportionate amount of black and brown people losing their lives to Covid-19, helped this to surface. This brought trauma for many and blew open the subject of race, ethnicity and belonging, especially in organisations. This caused companies of all types to look at their diversity and inclusion policies and how much they were implementing it. Many weren’t!
In April of this year, I started working with Pause to support them with their anti-racism strategies. This collaborative work came about as a follow-up from the Pause People Conference in 2020, where race and identity were discussed. The conference this year was about looking at where Pause as an organisation is now, where it is going and what it will do to get there. Feedback from the conference will form the basis of the work that I will do with Pause going forward.
Since April, I have attended meetings held by the Anti-racism group and the PACE Network (Pause People from Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean and other Ethnic groups), to get a flavour of what both do and offer my insights. I will be working with Pause over a year, to help staff become more confident in having healthy dialogue around race and become more skilled in anti-racist practice.
The aim is to normalise anti-racism and facilitate sessions where staff can find their anti-racist voice. My aim is to get people talking about race and anti-racism as easily as they do about what they watch on TV. Anti-racism and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion are no longer part of a tick box exercise and Pause is demonstrating this ever so clearly!