Diversity is like a rich tapestry that is woven with different strands of cultures, faiths, orientations, genders and abilities making the world such a colourful place to live.
It is strange then that some people will try their hardest to tear down this very fabric of society in some of the most destructive ways.
They throw around nuclear words society agreed long ago were too explosive and loaded with too much pain to remain in circulation.
They bar people from establishments, institutions and deny them fair access to services including justice because their faces “do not fit”.
They launch vicious and violent attacks on people because of who they choose to love or because they are not physically able to fight back.
And then they try to stifle the voices of those who speak up with either brute force, by shouting louder, or by weaponising policies and legislation.
There is a lot that people like them are doing, so I would like to focus on what people like us should be doing to combat this.
I’ve spoken at length about my own experiences so you will know turning a blind eye to any form of ism is not an option for me.
Every time any of us who claims to hold basic trade union principles is silent when someone in a position of power, privilege or ignorance reveals their unconscious bias, perpetrates micro aggressions, has a “slip of the tongue” or worse; we must understand that we are essentially complicit.
We do not need to be directly affected by a particular form of prejudice or hate to stand with the people that are. Collectivism is another trade union tenet that should extend further than matters of the workplace. Allies have become useful tools in many of the movements we have seen recently such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo.
The two groups just mentioned also serve as a useful reminder of how important it is to self-organise. The voices of any group facing oppression, prejudice, or exclusion need to always be at the core of any discussion about them. As a movement, we need to foster an environment that empowers all groups to speak up for themselves, give them the tools and the forums to challenge anything working to their detriment and take their cause mainstream.
This diversity issue of the magazine highlights exactly what is already being done and what can be done to support diversity not only in the workplace or trade union movement, but on a wider societal level too.
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