4 things your organisation can do to stop racism

Over the last weeks it’s been impossible to miss the controversy of AFL player, Brownlow Medalist and former Australian-of-the-Year Adam Goodes being booed by football crowds – and the impact of the crowd behaviour on Goodes himself and on Australia’s view of itself as a mature, tolerant and diverse society.

What you might have missed though, is that Goodes has, for the last two years, been the face of an anti-racism campaign by the Australian Human Rights Commission called “Racism. It Stops With Me”.

The campaign aims to ensure more Australians recognise that racism is unacceptable in our community, and to empower individuals & organisations to prevent & respond effectively to racism. It’s been given added momentum by the shocking treatment of Goodes, and the national debate that has sparked.

So what is your organisation doing to stop racism? And what more could it be doing? Here’s four ideas from the “Racism. It Stops With Me” campaign:

1) Update your Policies

Your organisation could institute programs or policy changes to reduce racism in your workplace or community.

Ventura Bus Lines joined the campaign following the racial abuse directed against French passenger, Fanny Desaintjores, in November 2012. As part of their involvement in the campaign, Ventura developed driver protocols for responding to racist incidents in order to ensure that drivers know how to respond appropriately to racist behaviour, harassment or physical violence on their buses.

The University of Tasmania created the UTAS Report It network, providing students who have encountered harassment, aggression or discrimination with an accessible online reporting tool through which they can access support. This program also enables bystanders to access quick advice on what to do when they see racism or discrimination.

And if you’re changing your policies or introducing internal programs to combat racism, don’t forget to add details of it to your staff onboarding package for new recruits.

2) Staff Pledges

You could follow the example of many existing supporters and ask members of staff or the community to pledge their personal support of the campaign.

The Queensland Government Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs, for example, informed staff members of the campaign’s aims and objectives and invited them to demonstrate their commitment by making personal pledges.

The Multicultural Development Association similarly asked staff to make campaign pledges as part of their official support. MDA also partnered with the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission to deliver training on racism and how to make complaints, as part of regular professional development sessions for staff.

The Football Federation of Victoria (FFV) implemented the Don’t Stand By. Stand Up! initiative, to encourage Victorian football clubs to pledge to take a stand against racism. As part of the pledge, clubs are required to nominate at least two club officials to undertake FFV’s Respect and Responsibility course and commit to promoting the initiative to club members and networks.

3) Hold an Event

Part of your support could involve holding an event in support of the campaign. The City of Greater Bendigo held a public event in July 2014 to announce their support during which staff asked members of the community to make personal pledges to stand up against racism.

Sports clubs have held intercultural matches and tournaments to show their support. Table Tennis Australia held an intercultural tournament in Sydney in 2013 which will be repeated later in 2014. Football United offers weekly football training, football festivals, life skills workshops and youth leadership opportunities to bring people from diverse backgrounds together through sport.

Other supporters have held forums, workshops, film screenings and other similar events to spread the ‘It Stops With Me’ message.

4) Endorse the Campaign

Your organisation can endorse the campaign by prominently featuring the campaign logo on staff induction documents, and on your careers website.

You can also register with the Australian Human Rights Commission as an official supporter, and get your logo featured on their website.

If you are ready to become an official campaign supporter, you can download and complete the supporter agreement and send it to antiracismsecretariat@humanrights.gov.au or by mail at Anti-Racism Campaign and Strategy, GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001

Or you can get in touch with the Commission if you would like to discuss becoming a campaign supporter, what is involved and what types of activities may suit your particular organisation.

(The content above is drawn from content on the AHRC’s “Racism. It Stops With Me” website.)

Does your organisation have a case study of how you’re working to stop racism in your workplace or community? Please let us know in the comments – we’d love to do a profile of you!

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