How to build inclusivity in your activism

by Social Justice

Building inclusivity in the workplace

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Coming from South Africa, a country fractured by colonisation and racism and considered the most unequal in the world, I am aware of how systemic discrimination continues to affect many people. Sadly, this remains true around the globe, even in activist circles and organisations where we might expect more awareness of racist, sexist, homophobic, class and religious bias. They are evident in our communities too, the spacial ones we inhabit and even the collectives we create.

Too often we experience or create environments that impose norms which might be unfamiliar or even offensive to many, with those holding power expecting others to fit in without reflecting on whether this is just or effective.

Turning to Audre Lorde for insights again, she offers this advice:

“What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order for us to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.”

Tips on building inclusive activism

These tips on ensuring your environment is inclusive draw on my work with organisations, social justice leaders and movements.

Make a conscious effort to listen and learn.

  • Are the voices and perspectives you listen to, diverse?
  • Do you know enough about issues that affect marginalised communities?

Centre the voices of those who are typically not heard.

  • Use your platform to amplify voices from underrepresented groups.
  • Share their stories, experiences, and work.

Are you an ally?

  • Think about whether your actions and views show solidarity with those who are marginalised.
  • Take action to support their rights and wellbeing.

Create safe spaces.

  • Make sure that everyone feels respected and heard in your workspaces.
  • Address and challenge discrimination and prejudice.

Reflect and adjust.

  • Regularly assess your own biases and privileges.
  • Be open to feedback and willing to make changes.

Collaborate and network.

  • Build alliances with diverse groups and organisations.
  • Work together towards common goals and inclusive initiatives.

Reach out via our social media channels to share your tips and insights.

Inclusive activism tips
Author: Shamillah Wilson

Author: Shamillah Wilson

This post was first published 12 June 2024.

Shamillah Wilson is a writer, speaker, thought leader and feminist life coach. She supports activists and leaders to navigate systemic challenges and to achieve greater fulfilment, freedom and success as they work to transform our world into a just place for all.

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