Why We Can't Wait: Community Healing and a Conversation on Racial Injustice

Estimated reading time ~ 3 min
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In 2020, the fight for racial equity continues. At this moment in time, there is a cultural opportunity for us to come together and create sustainable solutions for the myriad of racial injustices facing the country. Many are filled with grief, anxiety, and fervor as we explore ways to uplift our communities and create actionable change to systemic oppression. We want to motivate and sustain collective action.

COVID-19 has changed our world completely, but it seems that the constant abuse of Black bodies and the prevalent violence against our Black communities has remained and continues to pervade our 24-hour media cycle. We find ourselves in a space where people are publicly recognizing the racial disparities within our societal practices.

Tani Brown, Jopwell’s Head of Community, and Angel Acosta, civic activist and educator, dissected the very challenging moment in time that we are facing and the effects that it has brought on POCs, specifically our Black communities. For the last decade, Angel Acosta has worked to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice and mindfulness. Angel has supported educational leaders and their students by facilitating leadership training, creating pathways to higher education, and designing dynamic learning experiences. In conversations with our Jopwell community, we wanted to create a space for reflecting, processing grief, and empowering one another for meaningful action.

Many companies have resorted to immediate responses addressing their sentiments on the current climate and how they plan to support Black communities by speaking out and/or funding organizations that support community initiatives. At Jopwell, we believe that companies should be addressing the internal work with their Black communities before attempting valiant efforts externally.

In a conversation with Angel Acosta, we explored ways to sustain this cultural moment to educate people on ways to create systemic and institutional change. The first step is to truly understand the 400 years of oppression that this society was built on and how it has affected Black communities and still affect them to this day. We encourage companies to start with acknowledging those systems and creating environments for affinities to thrive. Continue reading for important takeaways from the conversation.

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How Can Leadership Teams Support Their Employees Impacted by Racial Injustices and Current Events

  1. Call in rather than call out. Strive to create an internal culture that will hold space for others and bring colleagues into the conversation. These conversations should be about changes within the organization and how that change can affect the external world.
  2. Acknowledge your feelings as a leadership team. Operationalize Operationalize your vision to put your best foot forward.
  3. Sometimes safe spaces are not always safe for everyone. Take the time to convene on the messaging and the values. This language and space that is created should be a place for brave conversations and vulnerability.
  4. Have open dialogues with teams and employees and let them know what the company plans are. Do the work to strategize what these conversations and spaces look like.
  5. Create emotional support systems within your company. The more support you can provide your employees, the more productive they will be in the long run.

How to Bring Healing Energy to the Workplace

  1. Create brave spaces to cultivate a culture of belonging. These spaces not only need to be safe but willing to discuss challenging but necessary topics.
  2. Address direct concerns openly to build a better foundation of diversity, equity and inclusion for underrepresented groups, allies, and those that are only addressing the conversation for the first time.
  3. Define the specific language that you need to use in order to approach conversations about differences.
  4. Create support systems for employees who need it. Hold space for emotional support, where people can heal, speak, and share their experiences.

How To Support BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) During This Time

  1. Contribute to the growth of wealth within these communities. There are many POC/Black owned businesses that are looking for support.
  2. Be intentional about the companies that you are supporting and make sure you are being inclusive with your choices.
  3. Do research on the organizations that you are supporting. Make sure that your support comes from a genuine place of understanding and your motivation is to truly support the growth of POC businesses and not just a trendy agenda based on our current climate.
  4. Follow through on transparency and accountability. Make sure actions are connected to outcomes, timelines, and leadership.

As a Black-founded business where Black team members represent the single largest cohort within our company, it goes without saying that the heinous acts of injustice have left us furious and frustrated.

Jopwell helps America's leading companies connect with and recruit Black, Latinx, and Native American professionals and students at scale. Sign up to find your dream job.