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Anti-Racism At Work

 

Produced by the Greater Victoria Local Immigration Partnership, this media campaign aims to encourage everyone to speak up against racism at work, especially white colleagues, managers, directors, and leaders who are presently quiet, hesitant, or unsure how to address the issue.

The GVLIP is a program of the Inter-Cultural Association (ICA). It is a community coalition of newcomers, organizations, government agencies, institutions and businesses that focus on improving the inclusion of newcomers in Greater Victoria.

Go to the Campaign

Nathan Smith is the Victoria-based photographer behind Anti-Racism At Work and N8 Images.

Through previous work such as Profiling Black Excellence, Nathan has worked to bring the conversation around racism to the table and combat the silencing that tends to happen when people of colour share their experiences with racism. For Nathan, the real beauty in portrait photography is in learning to tell a story, learning not to focus a lens but to focus attention.

Racism in Greater Victoria: A Community Report

In 2021, the GVLIP published a survey report about racism in Greater Victoria. The survey revealed that:

  • 71% of racialized respondents have experienced racism in the past five years.
  • More than 50% have experienced racism in the workplace.
  • 31% of racialized respondents have missed job opportunities and been excluded from networks.
  • 25% reported that they’d missed promotions.
Workplace culture

Despite these statistics, more than 95% of racialized respondents said they would not feel comfortable speaking about those experiences with colleagues and managers at their workplace. People feared that speaking up might lead to being shunned or losing their job. Some thought that speaking up would not make a difference to their workplace culture. Many racialized respondents said they felt tired of carrying the burden of creating these changes by themselves.

“When I spoke about witnessing racism, some white colleagues stopped talking to me and those that supported my voice only did so quietly after the fact…..the quiet people who are not racist in society need to start speaking up and being anti-racist.”

Anonymous respondent to Racism in Greater Victoria survey.

Anti-Racism At Work campaign posterAnti-Racism at Work: The Concept

In light of the survey report, the Anti-Racism At Work campaign was created to specifically call on white individuals at all levels in the workplace to listen, learn, and become actively and effectively anti-racist.

The survey showed that most white people are aware that racism happens but that it occurs more frequently than they are willing to admit.

When white respondents were asked whether they thought that systemic racism was a problem they often replied yes. Yet when they were asked if they had witnessed incidents of racism, only 10% said that they had, which shows a disconnect: they know in theory that racism is a problem, but at the same time, they are either too isolated or don’t recognize it when it happens.

First Phase: Learning and Listening

The first phase of the campaign focusses on listening and learning. Digital ads and billboards across the Capital Region remind us that everybody has a role to play when creating equitable workplaces.

The Anti-Racism At Work landing page includes the racism survey report and other resources such as:

• contact information for local diversity equity and inclusion consultants,

• tools to assess one’s own workplace on equity measures,

• local and national research on racism and other inequities in the workplace,

• materials that help organizations and business implement change.

“As a person of colour, I think it’s the work of the people who have the same race as the aggressor to intervene.”

Anonymous respondent to Racism in Greater Victoria survey.

Next Phases: Engagement, Commitment, and Action

Inclusive, equitable and non-discriminatory practices implemented in the workplace will have a positive effect in our community but getting there is not a one-time affair. Deep and lasting change requires long-term commitment, full engagement, and consistency over a long time. Anti-Racism At Work hopes to remind workplaces of this responsibility, opportunity, and commitment to affect such change.

The Anti-Racism at Work media campaign will run until 2025 and will be updated yearly based on community feedback, discussions with GVLIP partners, and analyses of previous phases. GVLIP will continue to add material depth, different engagement opportunities, projects, and a diversity of stories to the campaign.

Back to GVLIP

Tools for Equity

ICA’s Tools for Equity training program for businesses and organizations, addresses racial disparities and employment barriers faced by immigrants, refugees, and communities of colour in the Capital Regional District.

Bystander Intervention Training

The Bystander Intervention Training Program is designed to equip Victoria residents with practical skills and tools to be better anti-racist allies.

Racial Justice

We have to speak out against systemic racism and discrimination and move from being non-racist to anti-racist. We need to make commitments and take clear actions against racism.