allyship & inclusivity anti-racism

Racism isn't new. It is a deep-rooted, systemic problem in America and Canada (and around the world). Prejudice and discrimination toward LGTBQ2S+ people is long withstanding. Accessibility to boutique fitness for low-income athletes is often impossible.

 

We are marching for rights, freedom, demanding justice from our global governments, teaching our kids how to have conversations about race, anti-racism, gender and inclusivity. Being "not racist" or "inclusive" isn't enough . Learning about and being anti-racist, unbiased and equitable is essential.

It takes practice to improve, but it needs to start now. Being an ally begins with honesty, followed by change. We've relinquished our desire to stay comfortable. Inequality and injustice is our problem too. We own our mistakes. When we mess up (and we will), we will own it without justification, explaining or seeking validation. We will asked to be called out. We will learn from our mistakes and do better.

In the vein of honesty, we are specific about what we are doing to be better, within our walls and beyond. We follow through on our promises, regardless of the costs (time, resources, relationships, etc.) It matters to us and we are committed to anti-racism, civil rights, social inclusivity and allyship 365 days a year.

Continue to speak about George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbrey. Attend the vigils and protests for the injustice served for the murder of Abdirahman Abdi. Talk to your kids about race, gender and sexuality. Stand with your black, non-white and queer communities. Find opportunities for marginalized communities to participate in your experience. Give accessible options for low-income and disabled athletes. Then, follow through. And please, don't end your action or activism next week. Commit to it for a lifetime.

 

It starts with us. It continues with you.

Here's 41 inconclusive ways we are Anti-Racist, an LGTBQ2S+ ally and accessible for marginalized people at Iron North Studio:

  1. Survey our staff on their experiences so they can safely opt into sharing their perspectives.
     

  2. Created an ongoing Race, Equity and Inclusivity working group of staff and volunteers who opt into making and reviewing decisions.
    What we're doing:  We've ensured participation from team members and community members with positional power.
     

  3. Listen to members of the Black and LGTBQ2S+ communities who have already shared ideas and elected to take on burden – within and outside of our organization.
    What we're doing:  We are fortunate to have held many conversations with members of each community, so far. We will continue to have and be open to and initiate conversations frequently. We have yet to connect with persons of low-income, indigenous heritage and disability.
     

  4. Give credit when an idea or effort came from someone else. (ongoing)
     

  5. Share resources written by Black people. (ongoing)
    What we're doing:  Sharing social media information (Instagram and Facebook), resources, work, handicraft, and more from members of the BIPOC and Queer communities.
     

  6. When Black folks do share their perspectives, take that guidance to our staff working group to figure out what to do (rather than relying on those same people to also solve these issues).
    What we're doing:  When receiving ideas, feedback or perspectives from marginalized people, take that information and making time for thoughtful discussion, research and conversation before taking action.
     

  7. Make space to tell stories about the Black Lives Matter movement (ongoing)
    What we're doing:  Speaking openly about the long standing history of oppression and racism in Canada and beyond. Speak to each other and our children without hesitation about the BLM movement and the catalysts needed for permanent change.
     

  8. Share our perspective as leaders on what we are learning, what missteps we've made, and we are personally working to grow.

  9. Recognize Juneteenth as an annual holiday and discuss ways folks can use the time to celebrate, reflect, and act.

  10. Share a recommended reading list.

  11. Host required reading discussion groups around race and equity.

  12. Use organizational resources to give folks space to learn – workshops, coaching, time dedicated to learning, etc.

  13. Research what it looks like to build an anti-racist organization. Share your plan for what you will do differently with your entire organization.

  14. Interrogate the ways in which racism and bias show up in your organization. Create real accountability for this priority in the ways you would any other.

  15. Include your organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion as priority in our top goals. Report progress to staff. Report progress to our community.

  16. Track and report out on organizational diversity and other key metrics internally and externally.

  17. Evaluate staff on their ability to lead and act inclusively.

  18. Speak out when we see micro-aggressions, macro-aggressions, bias, and discrimination against Black leaders (or a person with any marginalized identity).

  19. Perform an annual diversity audit of your vendors and suppliers. Report on targets.

  20. Recommend people of color, womxn, and folks who identify as LGBTQ for roles and other opportunities internally and externally.

  21. Partner with Black-owned businesses.

  22. Donate as an organization.

  23. Volunteer as an organization.

  24. Hire more BIPOC and folks who identify as LGBTQ.

  25. Review your recruitment materials (job descriptions, etc.) for accessibility and jargon.

  26. Interrogate our job requirements for bias and make your actual role requirements distinct from “nice to haves.”

  27. Assess your recruitment sources and identify new pools with higher levels of representation.

  28. Establish consistent criteria to evaluate prospective hires and interrogate those criteria for bias.

  29. Remove barriers to Black staff advancing.

  30. Establish and interrogate for bias a consistent performance evaluation criteria.

  31. Provide managers with anti-bias training, particularly related to evaluation.

  32. Provide managers with support and guidance for how to address the impact of both (BLM & LGTBQ2S+ civil rights and discrimination).

  33. Require all staff take anti-bias training as part of their onboarding.

  34. Mentor a new Black leader.

  35. Make special opportunities transparent to all staff.

  36. Consider how people are selected for specific opportunities – additional professional development, joining important meetings, etc.

  37. Provide physical and mental health support for all staff.

  38. Provide days off for activism and / or rest.

  39. Create work norms that allow folks to take space if they need it.

  40. Support the creation of affinity groups.

  41. Make a long-term commitment.

  42. Take these actions as part of a strategic plan that we recreate every 3-5 years. Create strategic periodic checkpoints to look back on the progress of these efforts and adjust. Share progress and adjustments regularly with your team and other key stakeholders.