By Matthew Medlin, Account Executive
From a global pandemic to social justice movements and a tumultuous election season — this last year has been gut-wrenching on many levels. The heightened environment of 2020 made us, and many others, truly face the racial injustice taking place and decide how to participate in the larger conversation/subsequent action.
After establishing a Diversity & Inclusion committee and ironing out some initial goals, we understood that the first step toward enacting any sort of change would be education. So we decided to start right on the home front by providing opportunities for our employees to come together, discuss and learn, with the aim of increasing our awareness and ability to be inclusive as an organization.
Educating ourselves meant addressing our biases, listening carefully, and accepting that mistakes and redirections would be a necessary piece of the process.
Our current commitment is one piece of media (book, movie, podcast, article, etc.) per quarter. For our discussions to remain a safe space or learning, we won’t share specific details externally, but here are the materials we’ve covered thus far:
Directed by Ava Du Vernay, this documentary is a thoughtful exploration of America’s prison system and the historical/modern systems of oppression that cause disproportionately high rates of African American incarceration. This was selected as our first discussion topic to help establish a common ground understanding of America’s history of racial inequality and black criminalization.
Code Switch (NPR)
Our discussion led us to listen to multiple episodes of the “Code Switch” podcast, led by a multi-racial, multi-generational team of NPR journalists covering race and identity. We selected a few episodes that touched on broader BIPOC and racial issues that were most applicable to the agency:
- After Being Called Out For Racism, What Comes Next?
- What’s In A ‘Karen’?
- We Aren’t Who We Think We Are
- What Does ‘Hood Feminism’ Mean For A Pandemic?
Between the World and Me
This book by Ta-Nehisi Coates is written as a letter to his son and provides insight into the experience of being black in America. We selected the book as a means for opening a larger dialogue around the role race plays in our day-to-day lives, acknowledging our differences and exploring how and why race means something different to various individuals within the agency.