Our Black Leadership Council Brings New Perspective to I&D at Rogers
The past year has put a spotlight on the accountability we all have to take steps to tackle racism, remove bias and to better understand the role we can all play as allies – especially for our Black community. The killing of George Floyd and the tragic events that followed, sparked many uncomfortable yet necessary conversations about racism and the challenging experiences that Black members of our community face all too often. Unfortunately, for many of our Black team members, these conversations are not new.
Today we’re highlighting some of the first-hand thoughts, emotions and experiences from the voices of our Black employees including our Black Leadership Council and sponsor. Established in 2020, this is a national group of Black team members from across the company who play an active role in building a more inclusive culture at Rogers. The Council’s goal is to improve the experience of Black team members at Rogers, part of which is shaping an environment where every member of our team can feel empowered to be their whole selves at work. Over the past year, the team has stood up several impactful initiatives at our organization. These include Safe Talk & Listening Sessions, where Black team members can candidly share their thoughts and feelings with leaders in addition to playing a key role in shaping internal programs and resources including our “Interrupting Bias” Training and educational sessions for our employees on the topics of Allyship and Anti-racism. The Black Leadership Council also leads a quarterly virtual all-employee event titled “Unapologetically Black,” where they share perspectives on what it’s like to be Black in Canada. The open discussion debunks common misconceptions, while educating our team on systemic barriers and how we can work together to break them down. As our I&D journey continues our goal is to not only to drive equality for equity-seeking communities, but to elevate their voices.
The tragic death of Daunte Wright in the United States this past week has impacted our Black employees especially, and today we want to take this opportunity to elevate their voices and thoughts on what progress looks like from here.
We are incredibly proud of the work our Black Leadership Council and Black employees are leading for our organization and will continue to share highlights of this journey.
Black employees are exhausted from grief, fear, frustration, protesting and are looking for action! We, the Black community are in a twin pandemic as a result of COVID-19 colliding head-on with anti-black racism. The Black experience unfolding in the media has intensified our racial trauma to new heights. All the events over these past few weeks (many of which are captured in gruesome detail on video) are re-traumatizing. As employees in the Black community, we are looking to organizations and allies for action to forge a new path forward to dismantle systemic racism. Action that requires a new way of doing things, new strategies for racial justice and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” The future is now.
Co-Chair of the Black Leadership Council
I don’t know why the George Floyd murder was the catalyst. Black people experience racial abuse, unlawful killings and pain, on camera, off camera all the time. This unfortunately was nothing new. Our Black community feels angry, frustrated and sometimes wonder why we brought children into this world to be subjected to all this hate. Then we’re expected to manage our emotions and try to put our thoughts and feelings aside while the world continues on, oblivious to the systemic issues Black people face each and every day. We are tired, we are exhausted. For me, my passion and my drive is my son. I have to try to make a difference, I have to try to do something that will help his generation.
Senior Director, Retail Evolution
Co-Chair of the Black Leadership Council
The Black community was grieving before George Floyd’s murder and continues to grieve beyond the murder of Daunte Wright. Despite the mental and emotional toll, we continue to show up and be active contributors. This is the toll that Black employees bear. How many times does it have to happen before everyone shares in the same grief and recognizes this is not just a problem for the Black community but an issue for society. We cannot just keep moving on as if nothing has happened. Racism is and continues to be a public health crisis deeply rooted in systems of oppression. No one should have to live with the fear of knowing the skin they were born in is being weaponized against them. Each of us has the accountability to educate ourselves and most importantly, take action. If we are not speaking out, we are complicit in the system of oppression. Engage in challenging conversations and lean into the discomfort to expose racism and bias.
Senior Manager, Regulatory
Regulatory Lead of the Black Leadership Council
The events we’ve seen over the last year and more specifically those within the last week are both saddening and infuriating. Establishing the Black Leadership Council was a huge step forward for Rogers and I was honoured to come on board as their Executive Sponsor. In this role I am deepening my understanding of racial inequalities and what true allyship looks like. For example, using the opportunities and connections I am provided within my role to educate my peers on steps we can take to build a more inclusive workplace and customer experience. I believe it is only through educating ourselves that can we gain a better understanding and truly become allies. We are on a journey with more work to do, and I am hopeful that through building awareness and stronger allyship we can start to right the wrongs that have existed for far too long.
EVP Financial & Emerging Services
Executive Sponsor of the Black Leadership Council