Black History Month at the Martin James Network

Written by Martin James Admin

At the Martin James Network, diversity and inclusivity has always been a priority. But this year in particular, we’ve been educating our employees around race, culture and the importance of diversity in the workplace.

In October, we supported and celebrated Black History Month. We had events, workshops and support going on throughout the month, as well as encouraging colleagues across the business to talk about their experiences. In this blog post, we take a look at some of the projects that have taken place and the initiatives taking shape within the network.

Going back to the classroom

There’s no denying that school curriculums are failing at teaching us the very basics when it comes to black history. In fact, according to The Black Curriculum, 73% of people in the UK learnt about the Great Fire of London, but only 10% learnt about the role of slavery in the British Industrial Revolution.

We believe that knowledge leads to understanding and change. So, to mark Black History Month, we’ve been taking employees back to the classroom (virtually, of course) to give them the opportunities to learn more.

We held an Inclusive Webinar Series with sessions around understanding white privilege, exploring black culture, and using mentoring and reverse mentoring to drive inclusive cultures. We’ve also shared resources and links to events taking place in Birmingham on our internal engagement app, TalkOut.

Progressing our diversity charter

Our diversity charter has been in development for some time but has really evolved over the last six months. The charter demonstrates our commitment to leading the way when it comes to diversity, equality, and anti-discriminatory practices within the workplace. It outlines both our business commitments and the personal commitments we want our employees to adopt to support diversity.

As part of the charter, we have run several events and webinars to give all employees the chance to explore and discuss diversity in the workplace. As part of the Charter, we have also joined Inclusive Employers giving us access to leading edge resources on diversity and allowing us to benchmark our processes against other organisations.

Encouraging employees to share their dreams

Whether it’s our website, social media or internal engagement tool, we’re always encouraging employees at all levels to share their personal experiences and raise awareness of important issues. In October, network employee Cliff Faulder kindly wrote a blog post discussing what Black History Month means to him and what having a dream is really about.

He talks about growing up as a black child in 70s, 80s and 90s Britain, and explores society’s misconceptions of people of colour and how they’ve contributed to the world we live in. Click here to read Cliff’s blog post in full.

Whilst Black History Month has given us a platform to promote diversity, we know that this isn’t just once a year and we have events planned across the year to promote diversity and to continue the discussion around race and culture.