- Embed an anti-racist approach to collective leadership
- Listen to black women
- Understand the BLACK LIVES MATTER Movement
- BLACK LIVES MATTER in Healthcare
Allyship for Women Living with Disabilities
Glossary & References
Ally Toolkit to Support Diverse Leadership
Allyship for Black women and other women of colour is important. Paulette Senior, CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, says: “it is really important having those relationships of people you can count on, and (even though they) don't always understand, they need to be there for you unconditionally, internal and external. Internal in terms of organization and external in terms of community.” [minute 1:14- 1:33]
In Paulette’s experience, “as a Black woman, it takes something different.” She speaks of having experiences when people she thought she could count on let her down. Sometimes allies “get it” and others don’t. However, talking to someone who is going through similar experiences or who have had similar roles before is important because they likely “get it.”
Paulette continues on the topic of mentorship/allies. “It’s important to know people that will have your back no matter what.” Paulette encourages us to be champions (mentors) and to champion (mentor) other young women. Mentorship in Paulette’s life looks like a meeting for tea/coffee/dinner where both people talk about their challenges.
Watch Paulette speak about her leadership journey on YouTube.
Embed an anti-racist approach to collective leadership
Anti-racism is "the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably." - the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre
Anti-racist approaches to designing services and developing policies help to disrupt conversations centred on white privilege and supremacy and related systems of domination.
In this podcast interview with Jacqui Dyer and Natalie Creary on race, mental health and BlackThrive, an organization using anti-racist approaches in their work.
Jacqui Dyer and Nathalie Creary are two Black women working to dismantle systems of oppression in relation to mental health for Black folks in the United Kingdom. In this podcast, Jacqui Dyer says their work is founded on: “Having adult conversations with those who have a growth mindset, not a fixed mindset (after 11:45).” This is the difficult yet necessary work that is required within an anti-racism framework.
Nathalie Crery says: “we try to bring race and racism into the conversation.” Naming race and racism is an important practice, instead of focusing on socio-economic status for example (which can be coded language for race). Nathalie says: “it is really difficult to disentangle race and class… we have to have that conversation, which is uncomfortable”
If you listen to minute 9:00 to 11:45, you will hear Nathalie Crery speak about a model that underpins their work. It is called “The Collective Impact Model.” She speaks about how the model involves identifying the root causes of problems. When thinking about mental health, experience with housing, in education, employment, and socioeconomic status and race are all relevant and have an impact. The type of mental health work that BlackThrive does includes, for example, reviewing the design of services, and trying to influence local policies. One important area for action is reviewing local city plans (called “boroughs” in the UK).
She says: “ It is not down to a single person or organization to address this [mental health]. You need to tackle it at all angles.”
Using the Collective Impact Model, Nathalie Creary brings people with different perspectives (service providers, clients, community members, etc.) to the table and asks: “Who within the system has those leavers?” She says, the people with the leavers/influence: “they’re the people we need to have conversations with…we look at where there are opportunities for us to change systems.”
Dear White People: Here Are 10 Actions You Can Take To Promote Racial Justice In The Workplace is an article that offers some ideas allies can put in place in order to promote racial justice in their own workplace.
Listen to Black Women
Listen to Black women and if you are an academic, cite Black women. This advice might seem straightforward, but knowledge and ideas created by Black women are often disregarded, unacknowledged or appropriated (stolen) by white women. Taking time to listen, learn and cite Black women is integral to an anti-racist approach to leadership. Here’s a place to start.
Rachel Cargle is a writer, activist and entrepreneur. She is a Black woman who develops content on allyship, privilege and dismantling white feminism. She designed and delivered an award-winning lecture: Unpacking White Feminism. One of her posts includes a Social Syllabus: How To Be An Ally To Black Women. Mostly focused on the context in the United States, we suggest you augment her toolkit with information from CBC’s Collection: Being Black in Canada.
Learn about Intersectionality from Black feminists
Intersectionality is widely used and misused. It is therefore important to understand the history of the term.
Intersectionality is a theory and framework for action created that recognizes that larger structural systems of power operate at various levels to influence individuals' lived experiences. Intersectional work began in the 1970s and 1980s amongst BIPOC women (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) in the United States. The term was developed by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. It refers to understandings of how interlocking systems of oppression –regarding, for example, ability, class, ethnicity, gender, race and sexuality–form a "matrix of domination" (Collins, 2002) that influences the lives of women of colour (Combahee River Collective, 1995). [The references for this definition are Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins and A Black Feminist Statement by the Cohambee River Collective statement.
In this TED talk, Kimberlé Crenshaw talks about the urgency of intersectionality. It is a first-person account of how intersectionality was articulated through Dr. Crenshaw’s work as a Black American critical race and legal scholar.
“I would go on to learn that African-American women, like other women of color, like other socially marginalized people all over the world, were facing all kinds of dilemmas and challenges as a consequence of intersectionality, intersections of race and gender, of heterosexism, transphobia, xenophobia, ableism, all of these social dynamics come together and create challenges that are sometimes quite unique. But in the same way that intersectionality raised our awareness to the way that Black women live their lives, it also exposes the tragic circumstances under which African-American women die.”
Understand the BLACK LIVES MATTER MovementIn recent months, the BLACK LIVES MATTER (BLM) movement and its supporters have massively advocated for an end to police and state violence as well as anti-black racism in general. Thousands of powerful protests across the world gathered those who were committed in recognizing and condemning systemic racism as well as to honour D’Andre Campbell, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and countless other black lives who were taken too soon by police brutality.
Ways to support the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement
Here is a great place to start. You can also speak out on social media, sign petitions, support organizations in Canada that are dedicated to fighting racism and inequality and make donations. For a list of petitions and organizations to support, click here and here.
This article answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the Black Lives Matter Movement, take a look! Maybe it will answer some of your questions as well!
The Government of Canada has also compiled numerous resources relevant to combating racism.
The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, an organization that works to generate awareness, dialogue and action towards recognizing diversity as an asset and not an obstacle, has prepared an educational resource guide. This guide includes webinars, articles, toolkits, books, movies, podcasts that focus on race and anti-racism. The Center also has a toolkit that helps organizations be more race-conscious and give many examples of race focused initiatives.The article 103 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice is a great resource for those wishing to take action now. However, when trying to support diverse leaders, remember this:
BLACK LIVES MATTER in Healthcare
For Women of Color in Medicine, the Challenges Extend Beyond Education is a post by Jessica Yang on how societal structures influence the experiences of Women of Colour, from the medical school application process and beyond. The post includes an interview with Uche Blackstock, M.D. about some of her experiences as a Black woman in emergency medicine in the United States.
They also provide a safe community for Black physicians and physicians-in-training as well as creating social networks and learning together.
Similarly, in the nursing profession, Black nurses are largely absent from leadership positions and are often streamlined into areas that are more physically demanding and strenuous. Beyond physical challenges and visibility, Black nurses are subjected to microaggressions and racism from patients, colleagues and superiors. To learn more about the situation of Black Nurses, read the following articles:
Addressing systemic racism in health care is an article that shares the racism experienced by Dr. Nabeela Nathoo, a second-generation Canadian of East-Indian descent.
The article Navigating systemic racism in Canadian healthcare speaks to the fact that members of Black communities across Canada are overrepresented in a number of medical conditions, including cancer, kidney disease, hypertension, HIV and AIDS, diabetes, psychosis and mental illness. “Biological determinants are insufficient to explain these (health) disparities. They result from long-standing systems of oppression and bias which have subjected people of colour to discrimination in the healthcare setting, decreased access to medical care and healthy food, unsafe working conditions, mass incarceration, exposure to pollution and noise and the toxic effects of stress.”
Recent protests have been seen paving the way for racial justice in health care. Indeed, we have seen academic institutions and healthcare organizations commit to advancing racial justice and adopting anti-racist practices.The work of making space for more diverse voices in the health sector must continue.
The following are a series of interesting and helpful podcasts we have curated to support your anti-racist allyship journey:
Teachers Like Us: “Middle school teachers Alyssa and Andre... explore the ins and outs of today’s education system through the lens of equity and social justice.”
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