We are publishing this one month after George Floyd was killed on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has led to a global rallying cry against systemic racism and put the Black Lives Matter movement firmly into the global spotlight.
Many companies have been sharing their commitment and action to the cause, helping fuel the conversation and raising awareness around the deep-rooted racial prejudice and unconscious bias that exists in our society.
Honestly speaking, we haven’t known how to respond as individuals or as a business. For fear of saying something wrong or having the wrong motivation.
But we didn’t want to remain silent. We want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
So, we’ve spent this time talking amongst ourselves, with our families and friends, clients and associates. Talking. Listening. Learning.
These uncomfortable conversations have opened our eyes to our ignorance and the role we have to play as three white people and business leaders, in educating ourselves and helping to drive this conversation forward to inspire lasting, positive change in our society.
And it is directly linked to our business cause of mental health.
Our purpose is to raise awareness, shift attitudes and change beliefs around mental health for all. Because we all have mental health. Regardless of race or any other “social identifiers”.
That said, the data suggests that those from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) communities are more likely to suffer from mental ill health, due to the associated stress that comes from experiencing racism, as well as social and economic inequalities.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists published a statement (and recommendations for The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England) in March 2018 saying that they recognise that racism and racial discrimination is one of many factors which can have a significant, negative impact on a person’s life chances and mental health.
So, what can we do and what are we committing to do?
We believe awareness is the first step to change, so we commit to listening and learning and being a part of the conversation around racial prejudice, particularly as it pertains to mental health. And we commit to helping to educate others through our workshops and mindfulness experiences, by developing others’ social skills around empathy, compassion and acceptance, diversity and inclusion.
We respect that this is a highly complex and emotive subject and hope that we navigate it with the right words and intentions, whilst also recognising that much of this systemic issue is unconscious, so it will take time, patience and compassion. We will inevitably make mistakes but we also know that it’s better to try and make mistakes, than not to try and stand still.
Meditation is a great starting point for doing inner work around unpacking patterns of our prejudice and judgement towards others. Our favourite meditation app 10% happier has some great resources, including some insightful podcasts.
But as Sebene Selassie says “you can’t meditate this injustice away” we also need to lean into the external work that needs to be done.
So, here are some other resources that we have been listening to, watching and reading. And if you have any recommends for us, we’d be grateful to receive them.
Netflix have collated a Black Lives Matter Collection.
Some of our favourites include: When They See Us, Who Killed Malcolm X and 13TH.