The death of George Floyd and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement has focused attention on racial justice issues like never before. All Canadians, regardless of their skin colour, are becoming increasingly aware of the institutional discrimination practised by those in positions of power and influence for generations.
This has allowed greater room for Black perspectives to be heard, generating a greater understanding of the Black experience. However, missing from the discussion is research-based information on how existing businesses are dealing with this new awareness.
A local partnership between the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Ashanti Leadership and Professional Development Services, My East Coast Experience, and Footprint Life Coaching is launching a research project to discover how the local business community understands the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce, and how it is adapting management styles as a result. This information will be gathered via direct conversations with business leaders and shared with the broader community.
“How those with power in society see and value racialized individuals is directly linked to incidents of injustice, mistreatment, and the with-holding of opportunities to participate in the wider society,” says Professor David Divine, founder of Footprint Life Coaching. “What we are seeking to learn are the lessons local businesses have discovered on what works and what doesn’t. Why did they believe they needed to change in order to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion? What resources did they use? What policies, processes, tools, and structural changes did they implement? Did they work? If not, why not?”
The project is slated to begin in June and run till the end of the year. Results will be published and shared via the partnership to ensure all local businesses, regardless of size, have the opportunity to learn and implement best practices in their operations.
“The goal is to create a non-judgemental, safe environment in which businesses and Chamber members feel comfortable sharing their experiences,” Divine says. “This information can then be shared in an anonymous fashion so other businesses can benefit without having to reinvent the wheel.”
PR Coordinator, Halifax Chamber of Commerce