As part of our approach to effect this change, we’ve been working to highlight different aspects of inclusion which has included our Black History Month as never before has Black History Month felt more vital, or more important, than it does this year.
The events of the summer – from the death of George Floyd in the US and the Black Lives Matter movement, to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities have made the continued discrimination against many Black people in the UK impossible to ignore. Institutions and companies everywhere have responded by pledging to make real change. And as a social housing organisation rooted in diverse and vibrant communities, Co-op Homes has an important role to play too – one that goes beyond simple words of support.
We're driving change from within - in October, our Inclusion Network arranged a programme of talks, discussions and events to mark Black History Month and we're advising on RHP Group’s recruitment process to ensuring services are as accessible as possible for all customers.
Where we’ve been
The first week of Black History Month tried to set the tone in terms of the commitment and called upon the Executive Group to take RHP Group’s inclusion and diversity to the next level. This was established in an all company email from the Inclusion Network. Goals of the Inclusion network were also reiterated during a weekly online broadcast delivered by our Executive Group. The conversations that were had during this week had a history focus. Topics that were discussed revolved around the history of slavery, Grenfell as well as introducing the Inclusion Network to the whole organisation and what their aims are. Relevant external virtual talks, that are happening throughout the month, were also highlighted.
Where we are
We're focusing on current diversity stories and biases that still are prevalent in society. An example of this is the case of Barrister Alexandra Wilson who was mistaken for a defendant three separate times whilst trying to enter court. We’ve also been sharing information about the Black Lives Matter movement, why it was founded and how employees can get involved. We also looked at the legacy created from the Windrush Generation and where things stand today.
We also got to hear personal stories from employees who bravely shared their own experiences of how they’ve felt bias both within the workplace and outside of it too.
Where we’re going
We'll focus on everything from asking ‘who are your most inspirational Black Britons?’ and Black-owned business to look out for. We will also be looking at ways we can work alongside the Group's leadership team as they commit to additional constant reviews on where we can improve inclusion for our employees and our residents.
What we've learned
To complete Black History Month we’re going to highlight the key learnings and the standout things our colleagues have shared with us. We know we can learn from each other and help support others to be brave and speak up when things might be challenging to talk about. We’ll also work further to find out and break down the barriers that are stopping people talking/conversing about these vitally important subject matters. We can see more than ever that so many of us want positive change for our residents and society as a whole and we want to do all we can to be part of it.