To say 2020 has been a turbulent and tumultuous year is an understatement. It seems that with each passing week there is a different tragedy that America has to grapple with and navigate. Below is a list of five ways that allies and advocates of the Black community can provide support both in the workplace and also outside of the workplace during times of tragedy.
Build A Support Line
What are ways that you can support your colleagues in their everyday life? That may be providing guidance and help on a project, being an ear to listen to, or amplifying their voice in whatever ways are needed. Creating a support line will help you to recognize how to support your Black coworkers in a multitude of ways.
Random Acts of Kindness
In addition to building a support line, a random act of kindness goes a long way. Sending someone a meal or buying something small to cheer them up. You may have an understanding of things that they enjoy. Sending a $5 gift card for coffee or gifting an uplifting audiobook is a small way to show kindness and can go a long way. Technology makes it easier to send small gifts whether it’s a gift card or a meal the possibilities are endless.
Conduct A Listening Session
A listening session can take on many different forms, but essentially it’s a dedicated time period where employees are invited to listen to the feelings and experiences of other employees and are also encouraged to share their feelings. Listening sessions provide a great way for employees to learn more about what their fellow employees are experiencing and can be a powerful way to build empathy and understanding.
Educate Yourself on Black Culture
The expectation should not be on your Black coworkers to educate you about Black culture. Having an understanding of history and culture gives one greater insight into why different events can be offensive or triggering. Make a concerted effort to seek out media that will expand your awareness and understanding of the Black community.
Encourage Mental Health Days
The impact of racial trauma both watched and lived can have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of Black employees. Don’t wait until your Black colleagues share that they are in pain to encourage them to take time off. There is still a stigma around taking time off especially in the midst of the global pandemic, which may prevent employees who need the time off from actually taking time off.