Last week saw the important campaign Race Equality Week going ahead for its third year. Thousands of organisations unite together to participate, dedicating time towards the campaign's different initiatives. It is a time of acknowledging how companies and individuals can further educate themselves, addressing how race inequality issues can occur, and learning how to drive positive change against these issues.
Whilst Race Equality Week is only in its third year, it’s been highly impactful on a global basis. At a recent webinar it was revealed that 4,500 organisations had signed up to take part a significant increase on last year. This year’s message of #itseveryonesbusiness aligns perfectly with this increase, as race inequality is everyone’s business and the aim is to spread this message to more people than ever before.
What is Race Equality Week?
As previously mentioned, it is a fairly new movement. Created by the Race Equality Matters group three years ago, it followed the events of the Black Lives Matter Movement and saw a creation of an annual campaign dedicated to voicing issues minorities face in their daily experiences.
Organizations are encouraged to open and address the conversation around inequality supported by various initiatives run by Race Equality Matters during the week. These comprise of information packs, activities and webinars.
Race Equality Week Initiatives
Although the main campaign runs for one week in February, it is designed to encourage further commitment throughout the year. Race Equality Matters provide various ways to enable organisations to do this. For instance, ‘The Big Promise’ which looks at seven promises to be given to senior business leaders, board members, allies and ethnic minority colleagues. Each senior individual will select a minimum of one promise to take forward to commit to fulfilling and will share that promise so that they are accountable for delivery.
In addition to the ‘Big Promise’, other activities focus on giving ethnic minorities the opportunity for open discussions, in a safe space, to voice feedback to leadership on their experiences in the workplace on a one-to-one basis and then to delve into any areas that could be improved together. This provides a chance for them to have a greater voice and to make impactful change within their organization.
A Different Theme Every Year
Each year, Race Equality Week selects a different message to deliver across all its campaigns.
2021 - In its first campaign, 2021 saw its campaign called #LetsNotGoBackToNormal, advocating against events of 2020 that caused the Black Lives Matter movement to happen. The message of ‘Transparency, Accountability and Action’ was also used amongst the campaign.
2022 - Following the first campaign, 2022’s theme was ‘Actions, Not Just Words’. The theme continues the use of ‘action’, whilst it reflects on the progress we are making, accentuating the importance of proactivity when driving change.
2023 - Coming back to 2023, the most recent theme #itseveryonesbusiness, it’s as simple as stating tackling race is everyone business. In cohesion with the previous theme, it continues the importance of shared responsibility in improving racial issues; a collective effort.
Race Equality Matters held another series of webinars this year with expert speakers educating around the current theme. This included providing new insights on current issues, allowing attendees to make new connections and acknowledge colleagues’ wellbeing - learning how to build trust on such vulnerable, emotive, and uncomfortable issues. Without making these efforts organisations Race Equality Matters believes them to be unsustainable. Core values should surround diversity, inclusion and sense of belonging for their employees.
Key Take-outs about Race Equality Week?
Race Equality Week in its most basic form is a movement to educate and address across the different levels of racial issues that can become apparent or missed in the workplace.
Insight and information that can educate organisations and individuals is given through free services, webinars, initiatives, and workshops driven by a yearly theme. The wide range of initiatives allows organisations to find a flexible solution that suits where they are with their awareness.
It allows organisations to understand how they can make a commitment and dedicate time in tackling these issues. The movement provides diversity and inclusion guidelines for organisations to make continuous efforts in protecting vulnerable employees. It becomes a responsibility to do so.
We hope that this has given you some context and background to Race Equality Week. At Gravitas we have taken part ourselves by sharing this year’s theme of #itseveryonesbusiness and launching a new project series of My History, My Heritage. This gives Gravitas employees the chance to “spark the conversation”, through sharing information about their heritage, as well as their own experiences through their career. The first of these sees one of our Senior L&D Consultant present her experiences as a recruitment consultant, including workplace discrimination she has faced previously.
As one of the founding members of Programme One and with our own D&I Committee, we are also giving Gravitonians an opportunity to get involved by sharing the official Race Equality Matters webinar which includes a variety of guest speakers sharing their advice and insights for making workplace environment’s more inclusive and educated.
If you would like to find out more about working as part of the Gravitas family or the roles we currently have available then please visit our Career or Culture pages or contact us with any questions.