At this time last year, Laridae released a statement publicly committing our company to a series of actions in support of anti-oppression and anti-racism. We promised to report back on those actions in 12 months’ time, outlining how we can and will do better.
Over the past 12 months, we have continued to bear witness to acts of oppression and racism across Canada and around the world. With the pandemic came the rise in anti-Asian racism and hate crimes, more visible than ever due to COVID-19. In May 2020, the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis launched thousands of demonstrations; around the world, people took to the streets to demand police reform and the dismantling of systemic racism. In the last month, we have been faced with the discovery of the remains of 215 innocent children at the former Kamloops Indian residential school in BC – a heartbreaking reminder of the ongoing legacy of colonialism in this country. Most recently, we were witness to a horrific act of terrorism against a family of Muslim Pakistani Canadians. Thousands of people in London, Ontario, and across the country marched in their honour in the days after the attack.
As we work with organizations who deliver important human services to vulnerable populations, and as allies in the movement towards a future that is more diverse and equitable, we at Laridae have continued to grapple with these issues over the past year.
Understanding that a strong foundational knowledge is essential, we have committed to the development and rollout of an internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plan, which will guide our anti-oppression work into the future.
We must address the fundamental injustices and inequities in our society that disproportionately affect racialized people. In order to remain accountable to our anti-oppression commitments, our organization will prioritize transparency as we progress on this journey.
Actions Taken in the Past Year
Throughout the past year, as part of our DEI Plan, we have taken the below actions.
- The launch of a Laridae book club: Together, our full team read How To Be An Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi, and facilitated a monthly meeting to dive deeply into the content.
- Treaty Research: In commemoration of Treaties Recognition Week, each team member researched the Treaty lands applicable to their hometown and presented their Treaty research back to the team as a group learning session.
- Reflection & Dialogue: In commemoration of Orange Shirt Day, the team was presented with resources to read or watch prior to a meeting where we created space for open reflection and dialogue.
- Cultural Safety Training: We continued our annual Indigenous cultural safety training, with Lindsay (Swooping Hawk) Kretschmer leading our 2021 training.
- B Corp Certification: We undertook the process of renewing our B Corp certification.
- A Reassessment of our Recruitment Process: We undertook a review of our recruitment processes, revising our practices to be more equitable in a way that ensures our team more accurately reflects the world we work in.
- Pro-Bono Support for Organizations that Support Racialized People: We volunteered our time to support Black and Indigenous-led organizations with strategic planning and training.
Our future commitments include:
- Systems Evaluation & Improvement: An ongoing commitment toevaluate and improve our workplace processes and systems, both internally and through our work with all our non-profit clients.
- Future DEI Training: For 2021 – 2022, we have committed to a minimum of 6 training sessions per year to inform and educate our team, test our biases, and celebrate DEI.
- Continued Support for Racialized People and Groups: We will continue to build capacity within organizations supporting racialized groups and people, and seek opportunities to provide volunteer or pro-bono support to emerging organizations supporting racialized groups and people.
We recognize that this is a small start. By no means are we finished the necessary work of learning, growing, and actioning our values as it relates to diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. It is clear to us that we still have much to do in proactively combating racism in the work we do as an organization, with our clients, and in our personal lives.
We will continue to report publicly on our progress, with an update every June outlining our efforts and activities within that year.