By Vanessa Davis
Sponsored by Octo
We are proud to promote a month-long campaign at Octo to raise awareness, allyship and support for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community. By engaging employees to volunteer, donate, and take individual actions that help build awareness and allyship—and by inviting community members to engage in these Call to Action opportunities—we can create a positive ripple effect to help end racial injustice and increase support for the BIPOC community. This work is truly an around-the-clock job and many small actions can make a big difference. Join us and take action to help create a more equitable and just society.
10 Ways We Can All Take Action
Octo is excited to promote a public donation campaign benefiting three charities that are helping end racial injustice and provide support to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. These three organizations were selected by Octo employees, based on an internal campaign collecting peer nominations and votes. Octo will match the first $5,000 made to this public fundraiser benefiting H.O.P.E. Project DC, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Equal Justice Initiative. Learn more and donate here.
- Take actions to become a (better) ally
According to Wikipedia, allyship is “the practice emphasizing social justice, inclusion, and human rights by members of an ingroup, to advance the interest of an oppressed or marginalized outgroup.” Check out this list curated by Syracuse University providing ways you can take action to become a (better) ally. You just may find yourself encouraged to research, explore further and commit to even more ways to be an ally and help create positive change for oppressed and marginalized community members. These are our neighbors, our friends, our family, and many others we love and care for. By choosing to show up as an ally in all aspects of life, you will be a part of a growing force for good to build more equitable and just communities.
- Learn about microaggressions (and then stop doing them)
The term microaggressions was coined in 1970 by Chester M. Pierce, a Harvard University psychiatrist. He created the term to describe behavior he witnessed regularly of non-Black Americans towards Black Americans. Microaggressions are verbal, behavioral, and environmental humiliations that convey antagonistic, offensive or damaging racial slights and insults to a target group or individual. Learn more about when and how to respond to microaggressions in this article by the Harvard Business Review.
- Watch, read or listen to Black voices as they discuss racism
Part of your journey in becoming an ally must involve building a better understanding of racism from the perspective of those who experience it. We recommend this great list of media recommendations from the University of Colorado Boulder full of great options to watch, read or listen to Black voices as they discuss racism.
- Learn how to combat anti-Asian racism
Asian Americans are more stressed by anti-Asian hate than COVID-19, according to KQED, a community-supported public media outlet. Meanwhile, it’s encouraging to read this op-ed by leaders and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) advocates providing ways businesses can step up for equality. There are many actions individuals can take to be an ally for the AAPI community, too. Visit stopaapihate.org to report a hate incident and to find other ways to become an ally and help combat anti-Asian racism.
- Expand your understanding and support for Indigenous communities
According to the United Nation’s Development Program (UNDP), wherever we live, indigenous peoples are our neighbors. They are more likely to be poor and vulnerable, to suffer discrimination and violence and generally live shorter lives. Read the full UNDP report to further expand your understanding and support for Indigenous communities.
- Learn how to have productive conversations about race at work
No one enjoys uncomfortable conversations. According to a 2020 Society for Human Resource Management survey of U.S. workers and HR professionals, 37% of both white and Black workers felt uncomfortable discussing race at work. Still, in order to be an ally, we have to recognize and start getting comfortable with the fact that if we want to have equitable and inclusive workplaces, we have to be willing to not only have but encourage these conversations. This article from MIT’s Sloan School of Management recommends three social agreements to foster productive conversations about race at work.
- Shut down a racist joke, statement, or microaggression
Speak up! Explore this page about speaking up at work by the Southern Poverty Law Center offering multiple examples of racist jokes and statements and how you can help shut them down. Read example scenarios and methods you can use as an ally to speak up.
- Buy from BIPOC-owned businesses and show up for BIPOC communities
Being an ally is not about paying lip service. To make a difference, you have to show up. Download The Black Wallet app to identify the BIPOC-owned businesses in your community, and buy from them. Attend events supporting and celebrating BIPOC communities, like the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration event on June 19 at Ida Park in Leesburg, VA, presented by the “BURG” Family Reunion Club. Octo is proud to sponsor the event as well as to have employees volunteering, alongside volunteers from H.O.P.E. Project DC, an IT training program that has helped over 2,000 people, mostly from marginalized and oppressed communities to develop and improve skills that translate to gainful employment in Information Technology (IT). Come to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States, 155 years ago. Stay for great entertainment, inspiring speakers, local vendors and good company. Entrance to the event is only $5.
- Share this article (and/or other allyship resources) with your network
Spread awareness and help build a strong community of allies by sharing this and/or any other allyship resources. Share on social media, email to a family member, friend, or work colleague or talk about building allyship during your next family meal or team meeting.
If you’re interested in joining a company dedicated to encouraging allyship and supporting BIPOC communities, we invite you to explore current career opportunities at Octo.
“Corporate Meets Community” is a column highlighting Octo’s corporate culture and opportunities. Based in Reston, Virginia, Octo solves the Federal Government’s most complex challenges by providing Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Agile DevSecOps, Cloud Engineering, Open Source, Cybersecurity, and Data Science solutions. We continually develop ways to transform IT, producing results vital to national security, intelligence, health care, and more. Our approach is collaborative, and our outcomes are superior. Join our team of innovators. Explore careers with Octo.