Last week our CEO, Laurent Dhollande, declared that Pacific Workplaces (Pac) can do better when it comes to creating a culture of diversity and inclusivity within our company. We need to take steps to foster anti-racism. In his address on the Black Lives Matter movement and what it means for the future of Pac, he wrote:
“We need to work on changing our mindset, our culture, our sensitivity to these issues, and engage our members and Pac-mates in that process.”
For the past month, we have been listening, reading, watching, and, most of all, learning about what each of us can individually do to support the Black community. In this discussion, we will be highlighting resources and direct action that you personally or your company can take. We will also be speaking candidly about the steps Pac has taken and what some of our near-future plans include.
The weeks following the death of George Floyd have shown that the world is in tremendous turmoil. In the United States, we have witnessed near non-stop demonstrations of support in every state.
On June 6, 2020, the Pew Research Center released its most recent data on public response to these demonstrations. They found that not only are 67% of all American adults in support of these demonstrations, but 70% are also angry about the way George Floyd was treated and killed. Furthermore, 60% of all white adults polled were in support of recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
To underscore the significance of a two-to-three ratio of support for the current protests and a 70% acknowledgment of the pain caused by George Floyd’s treatment and death, consider that in 1968, the year Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, his overall U.S. approval rating among all adults was a dismal 25%. Jump forward to a recent poll in 2019, and you will see that MLK has a resounding posthumous approval rating of 90%.
But what does this data prove other than today’s general sentiment? And what does it have to do with the Pac community?
As MLK once said: “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
The truth is, as Laurent has freely admitted, that in the relatively intimate community at Pac (the world our members, partners, and employees alike share), “people of color are under-represented in our centers.” We see that this is not how we “ought to be.”
The continuing Black Lives Matter demonstrations seek to amplify a bare minimum level of equity for Black and African diaspora community members: Let them breathe. At Pac, we are committed to doing the work to ensure that our employees and members of color do more than breathe – we want them to thrive.
For our employees, this includes the institution of a coalition Diversity Committee. This Committee is made up of employees of all levels and backgrounds. Spearheading their efforts are Karina Patel, our Chief Marketing Officer, and Iris Kavanagh, CEO and Cofounder of Women Who Cowork.
Everyone on the Committee is committed to doing the deep personal work necessary to imagine and create an anti-racist future. At the end of this blog, the Committee has submitted material that you, the reader, can freely access to participate in this vital work.
As the Diversity Committee formulates practice standards and clear goals, we will share the direct action taken to ensure that each employee at Pac feels safe coming to the Committee with concerns about anything from micro and macro-aggressions, to the overwhelming emotional toll current events may be inflicting.
For our partners and community members who are inspired by this candid discussion and others that are taking place everywhere, please explore and utilize some of the resources below. We shared these on our social media platforms last week, but as social media can be so ephemeral, we wanted to offer this level of support here on our blog.
Resources for Personal Level Work:
The volume and breadth of the current discussion around race and social inequities may be daunting and sometimes confusing, we know.
Let’s start with vocabulary:
There are a lot of terms you may or may not have heard or used before to describe race and structural inequity. Check out this glossary for a comprehensive list of definitions for terms like “anti-racism,” “implicit bias,” “microaggression,” and more.
Looking for content and guides on how to perform anti-racism?:
This comprehensive list, courtesy of Rebuild Today, provides anti-racism resources such as book titles, videos, organizations to follow on social media, and a personal playbook for anti-racism. Furthermore, this list includes a directory of black-owned businesses and brands that one can patronize.
If that resource list isn’t enough, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]. Odds are that our Committee members can point you in the direction of numerous engaging podcasts, book titles, articles, and more.
Resources for Structural Work Done within the Workplace:
As you know, community change often involves hard and uncomfortable conversations.
This guide by Valerie Williams, Founder and Managing partner of Converge Firm, provides step-by-step guidance on how C-Suite level leaders can facilitate conversations about social change in the workplace.
If your company hasn’t done so yet, think about using your team check-in conversations to discuss social injustice and human rights concerns. These can be sensitive topics, so guides like the one above are invaluable resources that can help you create a workplace environment that ensures employee well-being.
You may be thinking: “Whoa, that’s a big topic with a lot at stake. I know it is important to the health of my company and employees, but I don’t know if a guide is enough to help me start that discussion…”
The answer to that persistent fear-based questioning is this:
Consider enlisting the support of Black-owned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) companies and consultants. DEI professionals have been doing this work for a long time, and they want to see you, your company, your employees succeed in creating a safer, healthier workplace.
Here is a comprehensive list of black-owned diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) companies and consultants to help get you on the right path.
The types of services offered by these companies include implementing strategies for attracting and retaining a diverse workforce, employee training programs that center race and equity in the workplace, C-Suite level personal and public speaking coaching, and much more.
So what can you expect of Pacific Workplaces in the near and distant future?
We at Pacific Workplaces know that cultivating change is not always easy. We also know that we can make a difference by doing our part, and that starts by leading by example.
You can expect open and honest dialogue between C-Suite level management and Pac-mates, strategic planning within the Diversity Committee, and the imagination and creation of a more equitable future for our members, Pac-mates, and the greater community.
Again, we ask our members and Pac-mates to please continue to send your thoughts and suggestions on what we can do to improve our world. Email us at [email protected].
About Pacific Workplaces
Pacific Workplaces (Pac) offers flexible offices and coworking spaces. Our locations include a wide range of furnished, flexible office spaces, virtual offices, mini-suites, and coworking. We offer this in a collaborative environment with curated communities that maximize networking opportunities and serendipity. Members have access to meeting rooms, coworking areas, business lounges, VoIP telephone, answering services, IT and admin support, an online legal library, and preferential access to a network of nearly 1,000 touchdown locations worldwide, under a pay-per-need hosted model PAC refers to as Workplace-as-a-Service. Our brands facilitate meaningful connections through events and day-to-day networking that help our members build relationships with like-minded people. For more information, visit Pacific Workplaces.