Race Equality Matters is a UK wide collaboration in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. It was cofounded by The Collaboratory and diversity consultancy Green Park.
Race Equality Matters aims to “turn declarations of commitment and support from organisations and individuals into meaningful change in racial equality both in the workforce and in society”. Its focus is on #ActionNotJustWords. It works with those with lived experience to co-create solutions that tackle Race Inequality in the workplace.
It runs a series of initiatives and solutions that include Race Equality Week, the Race Equality Network, and resources like Tea Break and #MyNameIs. Over 2000 organisations including Network Rail and BT take part.
Co-founder Javed Thomas realised that Race Equality Matters needed a private, neutral, affordable safe space to build a community where members could share resources, support and connections.
The Collaboratory and Race Equality Matters launched its first Guild community to support the launch of its new solution, the Tea Break, in April 2021. Over 200 organisations have accessed the Tea Break tools since launch. Towards the end of 2021 it launched the invitation-only Race Network Leads community. In the lead up to Race Equality Week the Tea Break community has been adapted and opened up to support more in their work for Race Equality Week and beyond.
Javed explains why they chose Guild for their communities, groups and networks, and how other organisations can get involved in their race equality programmes.
Why was creating an online community for Race Equality Week and Race Network Leads important to you?
"We initially launched a community on Guild to support our Tea Break initiative for Race Equality Week in 2021. We held a launch event with our partners Network Rail and we wanted to build momentum from the very start.
We’ve all been to brilliant events where where you suddenly think of an urgent question just as the presentations and conversations end. And after events you’re often itching to put what you’ve learned to use.
We felt that having an online community ready to go ahead of the event meant that we could build on the buzz and interest at launch. It was a great way to keep the discussions going and to keep event attendees involved in our programmes long-term. Event attendees quickly joined, shared questions and learned from people on the same journey.
We relaunched the community as 'Race Equality Matters' in 2022.
We also run a private, invitation-only community on Guild. It's for people who are Race Network Leads in their organisations. It's a safe place to share their experiences and challenges.
It's a community where people feel safe, where they can connect with peers in private - it is hugely valuable for learning and growth."
How has Guild helped Race Equality Matters make a greater impact?
"It has provided the forum we needed for peer support, helped with top tips and advice. It has also fed in ideas to new solutions we are developing and provided us with a community to test concepts, tools and solutions to tackle Race Inequality.
Race Equality Matters' strength is about getting diverse minds and thoughts collaborating. Guild enables that.
We’ve had lots of support from the Guild team where we needed it. It has also been very easy to launch the communities and get things done quickly ourselves.
For example, one of the Guild team took part in our launch webinar. She explained how the community could support delegates as they explored the initiative.
When we needed to change direction with one of our communities we were able to take the DIY approach. This was great as we’re a non-profit and always pushed for time and resources.
We knew that people taking different routes towards race equality could learn from each other. Whatever initiatives and tools you use, you have many challenges in common. We decided in 2022 it could be better to widen the remit of the community and to possibly rename it.
It was important to us to have the support of the existing community in this potential change. Guild’s built-in poll feature let us gauge how members felt about the planned changes.
Once we'd made the decision, together with the community, it was a matter of minutes to change the name and branding on Guild. For Race Equality Week 2022 we’re looking forward to growing this community and building on the work we’ve already done.
We really appreciate being able to run two very different communities from a single dashboard.
Our team can focus on our work and building the community rather than battling with technology.
We save a lot of time and energy because they can manage, moderate and measure both communities very easily in one place."
What do you like about Guild as a community platform?
"It's mobile and really easy to use. The focus on privacy and the control our members have over their own data is especially important to us.
This is really important to us and our members as we’re talking about sensitive topics.
At the same time we do want to be able to get the word out about our broader campaigns and to grow awareness of our programmes and communities. The chance to connect with other groups and members on Guild who have synergies, such as Building Inclusive Cultures, has been really helpful."
Why use Guild and not other community platforms like Slack, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or Mighty Networks?
"As a non-profit we’re on a tight budget, so being able to build the community for free while we tested the concept made a big difference.
Facebook and LinkedIn don't feel right for confidential and sensitive conversations about race equality. Slack is way too noisy and not everyone is comfortable with it as community platform.
The private, professional atmosphere on Guild is perfect for Race Equality Matters members. We know that none of us have all the answers and we see each of our members as experts. We wanted to create a peer community with no hierarchy - and the simplicity of Guild has allowed us to do that easily.
Our members include PLCs, non-profits, charities and other organisations who really take privacy seriously, so Guild was the ideal choice. It’s also very intuitive which helps when you need to launch a community quickly."
Find out more about Race Equality Matters
Race Equality Matters is a non-profit community interest company founded by Green Park and The Collaboratory, working with a range of minority-owned organisations with a passion for diversity, inclusion and equality.
Through initiatives like Race Equality Week, Tea Break, #MyNameIs and The Big Promise, they connect thousands of organisations and millions of employees to take meaningful action on Race Equality in workplaces.
All the schemes are free to participate in - find out how your organisation can get involved on www.raceequalitymatters.com
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