You can't make DEI a priority in your organization if you aren't first addressing racism, discrimination and bias.
Elizabeth Loutfi August 21, 2020
Many organizations have publicly pledged to better weave diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and programs throughout all levels of the business in order to establish a more supportive, inclusive culture.
However, in order for these programs to be effective, employees must be able to safely and authentically show up and feel safe at work. A critical step DEI subject-matter experts want organizations to take before starting a new initiative or program is to first address racism, discrimination and bias among their workforce — ultimately working toward dismantling systems of oppression and inequality.
“It’s one thing to start a D&I initiative, but if you don’t deal with the issue of systemic racism, then it’s going to be difficult to get to that place where people are showing up 100 percent ready to give you everything that they have so you can continue to build the company that you’ve envisioned yourself,” says Risha Grant, an international diversity and inclusion expert, author and speaker.
Systemic racism plagues workplaces, and has for some time. Grant explains that in order for people to be able to really show up at work, and in order to see all the benefits that diversity and inclusion can bring to an organization, that means getting rid of policies that are exclusionary and letting people go who make the workplace a toxic environment.