Monday 1 February 2021 marks the start of the UK’s first-ever Race Equality Week. A UK-wide initiative, Race Equality Week will unite hundreds of organisations and individuals in activity to address the barriers facing race equality in the workplace. Participants are encouraged to take part in one or more of three key initiatives, including a Virtual Badge Campaign to create visible support for race equality, a public commitment to change called The Big Promise, or Safe Space: a facilitated discussion between ethnic minority employees and the board that enables uncomfortable conversations but drive meaningful action.
Race Equality Week was devised and launched by community interest company Race Equality Matters who work alongside industry leaders to spearhead the movement. Race Equality Matters was formed in response to 2020’s Black Lives Matter and the collectively heightened consciousness of the systemic racism, inequality and injustice experienced by ethnic minority people in the UK. The mission of the movement is to turn talk into meaningful action through an impact-driven movement of collaborating companies, organisations, race networks, experts in the field, allies, and employees.
Raj Tulsiani, Co-founder of Race Equality Matters and CEO of Green Park, says: “As the pandemic continues to disrupt ‘business as usual,’ many people are entering the new year longing for things to go back to normal. Our message is simple: let’s not go back to normal. Normal is not good enough.”
Normal is 75% of ethnic minorities experiencing racism in the workplace, a third of FTSE 100 companies having no ethnic minority board members, and graduates from minority backgrounds being twice as likely to be unemployed. We have a unique opportunity now for real change so anyone who believes that race equality matters should be taking action.”
Race Equality Week is an opportunity for both businesses and individuals to do just that – whether as a first step to action or in addition to established workplace practices and initiatives. For organisations at the beginning of their journey, individuals making commitments in-line with The Big Promise is a good place to start. Once signed up, participants are given a list of seven promises and can tick as many as they like or feel confident that they can keep. Promises are categorised to fit everyone’s position depending on if they are signing up at Board, ExCo or other C suite level, senior leader, ally, or ethnic minority colleague – ensuring the pledge is cross-organisation and inclusive.
Since its launch in November last year, Race Equality Matters has received encouraging feedback from business with 82% of responses from a poll at its launch believing the BIG Promise would make a difference to race equality at their organisation and another 86% believing Safe Space would make an impact. Safe Space create facilitated workshops set up in collaboration with Race Equality Matters.
The solutions and concepts that Race Equality Matters has developed have been co-created with hundreds of employees across the country with lived experience through The Collaboratory’s ‘Solutions Collaboratory’ methodology. It is all about a solution focussed approach to improving racial equality with Race Equality Matters providing guidance and free resources for organisations on how to roll-out their own bespoke initiatives to create change.
Co-Founded by executive search and diversity consultancy Green Park and social innovation consultancy The Collaboratory, Race Equality Matters is continuing to attract high profile supporters, with the CBI among a number of D&I championing firms to partner with the initiative, including BT, Data & Marketing Association, HS2, AggioSergeant, Flair, Edelman, Diversity UK, the governance forum, Mental Health First Aid England, #Talkaboutblack, and The Diversity Digest.
For more information or to register and download the participation pack, visit: raceequalitymatters.com.