Say how your team is showing up for Black people
Proactively letting Black people in our communities know how we are going to support them is essential and easy. You might share that you are going to review the coming week’s schedule and cancel non-essential meetings so everyone has more time to rest and process, pause projects for a given amount of time, or support Black community members in taking time to talk with each other. Listen to the experiences of Black colleagues, decide as /team what you are going to do to support your Black colleagues, tell them you are going to do it, and follow through on doing it.
Use trauma-informed practices to make your Black colleagues’ lives easier
This experience is traumatic for many black community members. Using trauma-informed practices is a great way to support your colleagues.
- Offer to take on administrative tasks, such as facilitating meetings, taking notes, or sending follow-up emails. Executive function can be difficult in times of trauma. Any help you can offer to ease the burden of administrative tasks and anticipate needs can alleviate exhaustion.
- Push back deadlines. One way that white supremacy shows up is in a sense of urgency that doesn’t recognize traumatic experiences are taking place. You can support Black members of your team by assessing the urgency of the tone you set in your office and by moving deadlines to expand time for work.
- Ask “can I take _____ off of your plate?” One way trauma manifests is in a “foggy” feeling and decision fatigue. Instead of asking, “What can I take off of your plate?” or “How can I help?” offer a specific task you can do to help. For example, offer to take a call or help plan a meeting.
Learn more and educate others
There are endless resources for white and non-Black people of color to become better allies in fighting anti-Blackness. Two popular lists of resources include Everyday Democracy’s educator’s guide or these scaffolded anti-racism resources curated by seminarians at Princeton Theological Seminary. Start a reading or discussion group with your colleagues to keep each other accountable for learning more.
Disrupt everyday racism
Do not let everyday racism and microaggressions slide. If you see or hear a colleague do something that is harmful, interrupt it. You can say, “It is not ok for you to say that,” or remind colleagues of our commitment to inclusive excellence. Using your privilege to disrupt everyday racism is crucial to ensuring an inclusive workplace for all.