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  • Matt Sal

Anti-racism. What have you done…

…since the Black Lives Matter movement gained popular momentum?


…since organisations made a series of public apologies and pledges to be actively anti-racist and invest in systemic change?

….to educate yourself personally and those around you?

This can be a difficult subject for many individuals and organisations. This often results in inaction. Read on for 5 simple first steps to making progress…..

May 25th 2021 marked one year since the murder of George Floyd, and the swift subsequent public momentum gathered behind Black Lives Matter and their response through organised protests. August also marked 10 years since the shooting of Mark Duggan, sparking the 2011 England Riots. This year also marks 40 years since the watershed 1981 England Race Riots.

The last two years have also been marked by an explosive increase in Sinophobia and anti-Asian hate crime, in large part due to vitriolic rhetoric and popularist white supremacist language and behaviour from various leaders around COVID-19. Climate Justice itself was barely even touched on during COP26, finding its home in the inspiring speech given by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley; a speech that highlighted the gap between what has been pledged against what is required, and between what is being talked about against the action that is actually being taken. In 2022, the third year of the UN’s ‘Decade of Action’, we must make this the year we not only actively promote inclusion, but take action in actively seeking out and removing racism and barriers to inclusion from our organisations and the systems we partake in.

“It is a call to action to improve our current version of humanity with a better version of humanity”

You will often see calls to action with ‘business benefits’ floating around such as “If BME talent is fully utilised, the [UK] economy could receive a £24 billion boost” (from the McGregor-Smith Review, which is worth a read). However, figures like these have been used because the motivation to not be racist has gone largely ignored by business. They believe that they are secure in the false assurance that they are not racist and therefore don’t really need to address it. This can no longer be the reason we do nothing. Since last summer there has been a louder call to a different action; a call to be anti-racist. It is not a call to action to navel gaze and then declare everything is fine. It is a call to action to improve our current version of humanity with a better version of humanity.


Putting people at the heart of our organisations is one of the ways businesses can do this.

Maybe last year your organisation showed solidarity with your black communities. Maybe last year your organisation made promises. Better to have done so than not; it helped spread the movement, raise awareness, and gain popular acceptance that anti-racism is the right/only path... But a year, or even two, of inaction cannot be the result.

“Do we have corporate targets which measure our progress in being anti-racist?”

Maybe you haven’t done anything because ‘business as usual’ took precedent, particularly given the pressures COVID-19 and Brexit may have had on your business. There are some simple steps which can be taken now, before a year of inaction passes on something which cannot wait.

The first step is to ask yourself a simple question : “Do we have corporate targets which measure our progress in being anti-racist?”.

There is a lot of free advice and support out there can help you make a start (some are listed at the end of this article). The below points will hopefully spark some easy positive changes but remember; there are a lot of organisations, international, national, and local, who deserve to be paid for their ongoing work in this space and who need you to get in touch with them.

5 initial steps for your organisation:

Partner
  • Work with organisations who know how to create change sustainable to help you along your journey. Listen to the expert advice and steps you must take to be anti-racist.

  • Promote the work of these external organisations to others and actively push change to investors, clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders.

  • Work with suppliers to raise awareness. Write a social justice charter (or sign up to an existing one) for suppliers. The adherence to this will be something your organisation and others can support.


Give up your voice
  • Share your platforms with your stakeholder-base and wider community. Be brave in enabling them to use your platform to be heard by a wider and different audience.

Engage stakeholders
  • Undertake a thorough mapping of stakeholders, including their ethnicity and other protected characteristics. This will help you break down the barriers in the system which work against many of your stakeholders.

  • Understand your wider stakeholder power dynamic. How do they influence your business? How does your business influence them?

  • Understand the needs and prioritise of your wider stakeholders so you can best map your material priorities. Take the time to have open and honest conversations.

Donate resources
  • You cannot create change solely through your own networks. Actively seek out organisations who work in this space already. Donate money, time, space, and resources to the organisations who you don’t usually work with, and who can ensure it is used to create a fair society.

Sign up

Get in touch
  • In partnership with Planet Mark and Includability, JustOne are undertaking an exciting Social Justice project we want you to be part of. Watch this space for more details or get in touch if you want to actively help shape it at matt.sal@justone.uk

Below are a few resources which may help you on your way:


Matt is Associate Director at JustOne.