Our world needs an upgrade.
The pandemic has been a very difficult time in regards to sickness and death. It has also been difficult in the way it has forced us to face the ills of our world more broadly. Never have the rotten aspects of our society been so evident. We have been faced with a myriad of inequities, disparities and inequalities. While inequality is not new, the global pandemic has reminded us that fundamentally we are all human and that the extent of inequality apparent today is unacceptable in the modern world.
While this realisation is important for gender equality, sexual minorities, disability justice; the exposure of inequality has been particularly apparent on the topic of race and ethnicity. We all witnessed the physical and structural violence against Black people in the spring of 2020. We came together across income levels, genders, ethnic groups to agree that this cannot and should not happen again.
So once we are in agreement that change is needed, the next question becomes:
What should we do?
Marrying Theory with Practice
As the world was waking up to the existence of racism, those of us who had been studying for some time were plotting how to take action. The classroom can be a space of radical thinking and questioning, but this feels empty if no action follows. I felt so inspired by everything I was learning, but so frustrated at the separation this learning had to the communities we were discussing, particularly to the communities that I was a part of. It was all well and good debating social issues and policy solutions, but while we discussed Zoom, poor life outcomes and lower life expectancies continued to be the norm for disadvantaged communities.
The tipping point was a conversation I had with some of my classmates on the topic of race in Britain. One classmate (not from a marginalised racial group, and non-British) asserted that she knew just as much as me about the Black experience in Britain because we were reading the same texts. This more than anything else, reminded me that studying alone was wholly insufficient, we need to learn to listen to different experiences. Many people mean well but have very little understanding of how racial inequality operates. Without knowledge how can we expect people to take meaningful action?
Following the Black Lives Matter protests, it became apparent that while there was a sudden willingness to make change in institutions, work places, and society, many people did not know where to start. How do we abruptly redesign our ways of working, our policies, our principles, and even our values? If we do make changes, what should we be changing these things to?
The Birth of IntRespect
Pondering these very questions, I decided that it was worth taking more proactive steps towards pursuing anti-racism and liberation in our society. Having a conversation about this with a friend and colleague Myles led to the birthing of the early idea of IntRespect.
IntRespect is a company that supports corporations, sports clubs and educational institutions to embed anti-racism. Supporting companies through: in depth workshops, consultancy programmes, analysis of policies, and crisis management, IntRespect aims to make our society more anti-racist one institution at a time.
Now, we are reaching out to you.
How Do I Get Involved?
If your organisation is in need of educational programmes, cultural change support, policy reform advice or support in the wake of racial harassment incidents,please feel free to reach out to us. We are keen to partner with institutions ready to proactively make the world better, by supporting all those within our institution to thrive, regardless of our backgrounds.
If this sounds like your institution, drop us an email at: email@example.com.
The question is not, do we want to make our world more equitable, but:
Can we afford not to?