Amid global protests against systemic racism after the death of George Floyd, many development and humanitarian organizations expressed solidarity with these movements, revisiting conversations around racism in the sector. In the latest installment of the Careers During COVID series, Devex Executive Vice President Kate Warren asked whether these actions have actually led to any changes in the months since.
Aid organizations: You are on notice. Your black staff can see your complicity and hear your hypocrisy loud and clear, writes Angela Bruce-Raeburn, Africa regional advocacy director at the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, in this guest commentary.
Joining Warren for this discussion was Angela Bruce-Raeburn, regional advocacy director for Africa with the Global Health Advocacy Incubator, who said she remains unconvinced. Bruce-Raeburn, who has been speaking out against racism in global development for years, said “the jury is still out” on whether this is a “watershed moment” for the sector.
The protests have helped shine a spotlight on such issues, but “beyond the hashtag activism, beyond the solidarity with Black Lives Matter … what else is your organization doing?” she asked. Organizations need to look at the makeup of their boards, as well as their management and executive teams, and ensure that Black people and other people of color at every level feel empowered, she said.
There is also still a discomfort when it comes to talking about race, Bruce-Raeburn added. “Every organization needs to bring it into the forefront of the conversation. … Don't shy away from it, because it is the single most urgent reality that we have to face now.” she urged.
Bruce-Raeburn also discussed how the shift to remote work is forcing the sector to rethink the way things have always been done and where there are opportunities for employers and allies to ensure that the voices of Black women and other people of color are heard.
Catch up on the rest of the Careers During COVID series:
• A discussion on employee engagement
• How COVID-19 is impacting UNDP's hiring and culture
• What development pros are saying about job losses and work
• What a return to work looks like