Hey Employers: Do Black Lives Matter?
How Black employees want to be supported by their employers during times of protest for #BlackLivesMatter✊🏾
As you know (I hope), the murder of George Floyd has caused protests and violent riots in Minneapolis, and many other cities around the United States. Yet again, another Black man was murdered by those hired to protects us. Four policemen pinned George to the ground after being called by a store clerk about disorderly conduct. An officer, by the name of Derek Chauvin, kneeled into George’s neck with extreme pressure, digging it into the ground to the point that he struggled to breath. As George was suffocating, he stated that he could not breath multiple times, but Chauvin did not let up. The other officers just stood by allowing it to happen, which makes them just as guilty. George died later that day. It took days just for Chauvin to even be arrested. He’s now been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. If you’re unaware of the story, please head here.
George Floyd’s death has caused one of the biggest reactions that our country has ever seen, and it will go down in history. Once the recorded video hit social media, the Black community and our allies took to the streets to protest. Social media has been nothing but updates on the case against Derek Chauvin, the protests, riots and looting taking place all over the country. From a non-Black persons perspective, what they may see are stores being destroyed, unnecessary violence taking place, and asking, “What will this solve?”
What a non-Black person may not know is that these protests are full of undercover cops, and white supremacists acting as protesters, but are really there to start chaos, so that our youth fall in line with them and take out their pent up emotions in front of the media. It allows the media to televise and publicize Black anger, further pushing our stereotype of being “thugs” and deserving of potentially fatal outcomes. Oh, and our president helping push that agenda and threatening to shoot us while we’re already in pain doesn’t help.
The Black community is either on the front lines experiencing this first-hand, or witnessing it all from behind a screen, and feeling nothing but anger, sadness, and stress. It’s hard to care about anything else during these times. Work is unimportant. Most things just seem meaningless. We can’t focus. The only thing we care about is what’s happening to us, our friends, family, and community. How could we possibly care about anything else? We’re being slaughtered in the streets and no matter what we do to stop these repetitive occurrences from happening, they don’t work. And while we’re angry, we’re being told to “calm down”, “get over it”, “you did this to yourselves”. Scrolling through our feeds online, we have trolls, racists, and even people who we believed to be allies show us that they’re on the opposing side. It makes us question everyone. What about our co-workers? What about our managers? What about the people whom we look up to, and learn from? Do they secretly believe my life doesn’t matter?
Eventually, it’s too much to handle. Our minds and emotions clash. What’s most frustrating is that we want the justice we deserve. We’re sick of asking for it, and it never coming. Whether we’re peaceful, or whether we’re loud, it does not work. We have pent up aggression from the change that has yet to happen since we were brought to this country. We’re always told to wait, or we’re restricted by systematic racism that won’t allow us to grow and thrive without hurdles of injustice, pain, and forced assimilation. Generations amongst generations of our people don’t know what else to do.
So now, we’re not just livid- we’re done accepting it.
‘A riot is the language of the unheard.’ -MLK
What can employers do to help?
Employers, do you have Black employees? If you don’t, that’s an incredibly huge issue that says a lot about yourself and the type of impact you’re going to have on this world. If you do, what are you doing to ensure them that you support them and care about their mental health, given the state of what’s happening to their community? Whether you have a protocol or not, here are a few screenshots of what your Black employee’s want from you👇🏽
Let’s break these down into list form:
Communicate with us- let us know that you’re aware of the current events and you support us.
Mental Health days- give us time to solely focus on ourselves and our community. We don’t have the energy or mindset to care about something that is realistically less unimportant than our community suffering. Working and stressing at the same time produces a low quality outcome.
Be understanding if our productivity has decreased- We’re mentally and emotionally exhausted.
Make sure the company is aware of current events- encourage them to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world, especially with people who don’t look like them. They should be considerate of how their colleagues may be feeling and why.
Your take as a non-Black person- keep negative, triggering opinions on how you think the Black community should react to our injustices to yourself. As a person who will never experience being Black, ignorant opinions on how we should deal with our pain do not need to be heard.
Don’t just tell us you support and stand with us, show it- Write about the current events in a newsletter or morning email. Even if it’s repetitive, state that you do not tolerate or support those in favor of racism, bias, police brutality, etc. Maybe bring awareness to times and dates of protests in case employees would like to attend.
Donate- donate to organizations that empower the Black community or to those being affected by the current events in our community.
SPEAK UP- Be an ally. Do not stay silent. Silence can be louder than words
Practice all of this often- #BlackLivesMatter is not a trend to hop on only when it’s hot. Always show support for the Black community. And I said BLACK. We’re tired of being erased by the term ‘POC’, which has notoriously been in favor of non-Black communities. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
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If you’d like to get in touch, please reach out to me at: Pariss@BlackTechPipeline.com