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Inclusion is a Verb

Our team at WomenWerk stands behind all protesters calling for the end of police brutality and racism across all communities. We're so proud of WomenWerk alumni Tamika Mallory who rightly calls for justice for Breyonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahamad Aubrey. Black Lives Matter.

For those of us who are working and finding time to join the protests, it's been a challenge especially because of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The encouraging thing is that this moment offers a great way to contribute to a unique time in our nation's history.

As I’ve seen organizing progress over the past month, my feelings have gone from frustration and stress to encouragement and inspiration. In order to balance my well-being with my passion for social justice, I’ve found my worldview has evolved in two key ways. First, I’ve been forced to revisit my expectations for the year and re-imagine my role in shaping the world around me. As a firm Manager and community organizer outside the firm, I carry a consciousness for social justice that defines my personal values of hard work, inclusion, and integrity. Through the COVID-19 pandemic and national attention to value of black lives, I have become more aware of the genuine gap in awareness, empathy, and engagement about the experience of black people by whites and other minorities. Though I know this personally, we must come to terms with the ways – even in 2020 – structural racism impacts our world from housing access, to schools, access to capital, and norms around leadership and professionalism. As FSI professionals who pride ourselves in fostering a culture of inclusivity, this moment offers us a unique opportunity to enhance our own empathy and understanding of those who have more to overcome to be successful.

No matter your role at your company or non-profit, I would encourage everyone to consider taking this time for reflection on our practice of inclusion. Consider opportunities to:

  • Reach out – Reach out to check in with minority professionals on your team and learn about their Deloitte experience within and outside the firm. Many of us are both adjusting to the pandemic and this heightened attention to injustices targeting black Americans and it can feel like no one we know personally seems to care. Consider reaching out to check in and build understanding

  • Speak up – Speak up if you hear, see, or sense that someone is experiencing micro-aggressions for being different or is being treated differently.

  • Self-reflect – Reflect on how you can be an ally for minorities in your network. Allyship can sometimes include difficult conversations and providing direct, honest feedback in constructive conversations that have helped us all learn and grow to where we are today. Far too often, I hear of practitioners who wonder why our teams are not diverse, and often felt sidelined from social gatherings, new projects, and meaningful business development opportunities while others were invited to join. It is important to reflect on how we can be more intentional to avoid unconscious bias.

Inclusion is a muscle that can be trained and your actions build a culture of true inclusion for everyone.

Overall, I have realized that injustice within and outside Deloitte is not just bad for just black people because it has a ripple effect on us all. I am confident we can rise to these movements of critical reflection on what we are meant to learn, and actions to demonstrate our values. Real, sustainable change comes when we start to see allyship and justice as something worth engaging in.

Thoughts? Suggestions? @WomenWerk #WWBlog

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