Stand Up To Racism: How We Are Paving The Way As An Anti-racist Ally
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is taking place on Tuesday 21st March.
This important annual event was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966 to help create a world free from discrimination and prejudice.
The day is observed annually on March 21st to mark the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, which occurred in 1960.
On that day, police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators who were protesting against apartheid “pass laws”, which resulted in 69 people being killed and 180 people injured.
The theme for the day changes each year, but it always focuses on issues related to racism and discrimination.
The theme for 2023 focuses on the urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination, and marks the 75th adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
Here at HFS, this annual day is a time to reflect on the event, our current anti-racist strategies and determine where we can improve. Find out within this post how we are paving the way as an anti-racist ally.
How HFS Is Standing Up To Racism
Join us at Homes for Students on Tuesday 21st March as we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Since the Sharpeville massacre, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled and racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries across the globe.
However, that’s not to say that racial discrimination has disappeared, it is still a real and pressing issue which affects people across the UK.
Research found that a total of 109,843 racially motivated hate crimes were recorded in 2021/2022.
The recent Black Lives Matter movements which took place throughout the UK in 2020, also highlighted that racism, discrimination, and racial inequality still exist throughout the country, and there is still so much we, as a society, can do.
All of us can stand up against racial prejudice, celebrate diversity and promote human rights for everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or nationality.
As the UK’s largest independent student accommodation provider, our work as a business to take action to fight racism is constantly evolving, and following below is just a selection of how we’re actively championing anti-racism.
1. Fostering A Culture Of Inclusivity
Here at HFS, we aim to create a community that reflects the diversity and vibrancy within the UK.
To help tackle racism and create a more inclusive culture for our students and employees, we must first acknowledge that racism exists, in all aspects of society.
To help address any issues of racial discrimination and ensure inclusivity both within our properties and within our workplaces, we set up our diversity and inclusion group ‘Together Is Better’.
The group was set up in June 2021 and includes members from across the company who concentrate on driving a force for good, focusing on important issues, sharing their experiences and learning from each other.
They also organise a variety of inclusive events and campaigns throughout the year including for Black History Month, Pride Month and International Women’s Day.
For International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the ‘Together Is Better Team’ are working closely with Inclusive Employers, our Diversity, Inclusion & Equality partner, with a special webinar taking place on March 21st to raise awareness and ensure as a business we understand the diversity of teams and residents alike.
2. Creating Safe Spaces
Here at HFS, we are committed to providing an environment, which is free from discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation, and where all members of our community are treated with respect and dignity.
We strive to create safe and inclusive spaces both within our student accommodation properties and our workplaces, where everyone is valued for their contribution and individuality, no matter their backgrounds, beliefs or ethnicities.
As an organisation that cares about our students and staff’s wellbeing, we have a zero-tolerance approach towards racism or discrimination of any kind.
Should any incidents of racism or discrimination occur, we have policies and procedures in place to address any such incidents promptly.
3. Educating Employees
To foster an anti-racist environment across our business, we ensure all of our staff are knowledgeable and skilled in recognising and tackling racism and discrimination.
We have a clear anti-racism policy and provide training and education for employees on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural awareness, micro-inequalities, microaggressions, stereotypes and inclusive language, through workshops, webinars and online learning modules.
We carry out training to address racism and promote equality on a regular basis, to make sure that it stays relevant and ensure that our employees stay well informed about pressing issues affecting minority groups.
Another way we are helping to educate on important issues regarding racial discrimination is by listening to groups that are or may be discriminated against.
It’s vital to shine a spotlight on the diverse and different experiences of minority ethnic employees, and learn from their experiences.
This way, we can understand others perspectives and use conversations to confront racism and discrimination.
4. Commitment To Change
Addressing racism is an ongoing process that requires a commitment to change, dedication, and continuous improvement.
The most effective thing an ally can do is get involved and stay involved.
Which is why we regularly review and evaluate our efforts to address racism and identify areas where improvements can be made within our business.
Racism within society is not an issue which can be tackled overnight.
We know we’ve got a long way to go to be anti-racist in everything we do, but we strive to ensure that our work is constantly evolving.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reminds us that racism is an issue that still exists across the globe and affects millions of people.
Too many people suffer from the injustices and stigmas surrounding racism.
We must all work together to create a world free from discrimination and prejudice, not just on this annual day, but everyday.