On March 24, we decided to add an additional DIBE Roundtable to our calendars following the need some TrackTikers expressed to talk about anti-Asian hate and ways to stand-up as allies. Thanks to the 42 TrackTikers in attendance, we were able to build a constructive exchange combining personal testimonials and suggestions for next steps.
TrackTikers who have been personally affected by the increase in hate incidents against Asian communities were able to share how the past months have affected them. Several were shocked to learn that some of our coworkers have stated being afraid of walking on their own past a certain time, worry about their parents’ safety and have been personally affected when seeing Montreal’s Chinatown landmarks vandalized. Having someone reach out to them simply to check how they were doing proved to be the most comforting action they expected from colleagues; some were happy to report they felt supported by their TrackTik family.
TrackTikers attempted to define what allyship truly means. One participant saw clear parallels between allyship and friendship and others proposed the following perspectives:
“Allyship is the commitment and promise to continue learning and evolving.”
“Allyship is taking the emotional burden on your shoulders to alleviate someone else.”
“An ally’s duty is to turn others into allies and that starts with educating people who surround us.”
The common thread between the exchanges was the need for education and patience, as personal growth is not a linear process. A TrackTiker proposed the idea of “calling in rather than calling out” individuals who do not display an inclusive behaviour: valuing conversations over confrontations. For example, instead of shaming someone for making jokes which might seem innocuous but contribute to the long-term normalization of stereotypes, they suggested taking a respectful educational stance and explaining the challenges with this behavior. Another TrackTiker proposed a way to counter microaggressions: making micro-kindness a habit. This could involve checking-in with each other, offering help, validation and emotional support without imposing it, educating each other and striving to ensure everyone feels at ease being themselves. The exchanges were powerful because they provided perspective on how to approach a plethora of issues within the diversity and inclusion realm beyond racial discrimination.
Wrapping up the meeting, our common commitment was to keep the conversation going and pursue our actions by doing the following: educating ourselves by increasing our familiarity with anti-racist resources, sharing content in our internal #diversity_and_inclusion Slack channel, listening attentively, “keeping an open mind and open heart” as one participant put it, raising awareness within our inner circles, surrounding ourselves with people who do not all look like us to keep learning, using our purchasing power to support authentically inclusive organizations and offering volunteer time and resources to communities who need it the most. We look forward to continuing to take these steps together at TrackTik.