Written by Parveen Dhupar, chief creative officer at BTI Brand Innovations Inc. and a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization in Toronto. The original version of this article appeared on Dhupar’s LinkedIn blog.
My name is Parveen Dhupar. I am a brown man, born in India, raised in Canada since the age of 7, happily married to my wife Ritu for 27 years and a proud father to two boys, currently ages 23 and 21. I consider myself Canadian first and am proud of my ancestry.
Social issues are hot topics of discussion in my household given our racial background and that my oldest son identifies as gay. We are a strong happy family that respects differences in opinion and contributes to the greater community.
I start off this way so that I can paint a quick picture of my family and to allow all the stereotypical “perceptions” to float in your mind. We all have perceptions and biases that I believe contribute to the continuation of these ongoing issues of inequality, racism, hatred and injustice. What I am about to share may offend some and resonate with others.
My intention is to rally people of influence to speak up and support BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour), LGBTQ2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and two-spirit), and all communities that are marginalized, excluded and discriminated against based on race, gender, age or ethnicity.
What is happening in the United States and globally, with protestors taking to the streets in outrage to denounce the death of George Floyd, shows that people are tired of letting racism and police brutality exist in silence.
It is a result of long-seeded inequality and oppression. We are at an inflection point in a world grappling with a complex legacy of racial, social, and economic disparities, spanning centuries.
I pray that this time, people in power make positive change and that we do not stop until we finally have equality for all.
So, what can we do beginning today? Let’s start with:
1. Get behind Black Lives Matter.
Make it your own fight. I am brown and even though I have faced racism I can admit that it is much harder for a black person to get ahead than anyone else in North America.
2. Open up your heart, mind, body and soul.
Start with compassion, listen and learn, walk peacefully side-by-side with people that have been discriminated against and recognize that we are all connected deep down inside.
3. Educate yourself.
Get an understanding of how policing works, the history of slavery in America, our own Canadian history steeped in racism and the active oppression of indigenous people, and finally, the way white supremacy exists in the systems we navigate on a daily basis and how we benefit from it while others suffer.
4. Do some self-reflection.
Take a look at your own biases, acknowledge your privilege (white or otherwise), extend a hand to others and make a commitment to be a better person.
5. Keep the dialogue going.
Don’t stop talking once the media stops reporting and the hashtags stop trending. Have an ongoing dialogue in your family, with friends and colleagues. Keep holding yourself and each other accountable.
6. Vote for change.
Be a part of the solution by casting your vote for officials willing to have the tough conversations in parliament or government and fight in order to pass bills that will effect change.
7. Get involved.
Be the change by getting involved in leadership positions, volunteer with organizations or campaigns (including political ones) you believe in, run for politics and be a person of influence.
8. Check your values.
Evaluate your relationships, partnerships and the brands you support against the values that are important to you when it comes to systemic injustice and discrimination.
9. Support minority-led businesses.
Align your consumer buying habits by supporting the minority-led businesses locally and around the world. Give them the opportunity to grow and flourish.
10. Redirect the conversation.
Don’t ignore it and walk away when someone shares words that don’t align to racial equality, social justice and greater access to education and life’s necessities.
Speak up and help them understand by walking them through these 10 tips to making positive change. Change is not going to happen overnight but committing to the steps above will lead to the greater goal of a society where everyone is treated as equals.
I have personally started by making a generous donation to the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter and am committing to giving up to two hours of free marketing consultation to any BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ entrepreneur.