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Race Against the Machine: Speaking Up Against Discrimination in the Workplace

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

You understand that racism and discrimination aren’t old world problems. They aren’t accidental and the existence of them in our society and within all of our institutions is intentional. You can no longer deny that the spaces you occupy were designed to keep certain people out and allow others to thrive. But what can you possibly do about it? How can one person or even 100 people lead a successful fight against a 155-year-old scheme? Is change even a reality at this point?

It is. Change is inevitable and although it may take time in some instances, it’s definitely not impossible.

So how can you effect change in the spaces you occupy?

Unfortunately a blacked out square on your social media profile isn’t enough. Neither is an orange one. Reposts or acknowledgement of Black History Month, voicing disgust about the recent discovery of mass graves at former residential schools and a tweet about the papal apology or Emancipation Day aren’t enough either.

In fact, we think it’s safe to say that anti-racism work can’t and won’t be accomplished through social media posts or corporate marketing campaigns. Or apologies. The work must be done on the ground. Your hands will get dirty. And you are almost guaranteed to feel uncomfortable at some point along your journey.

Individuals and organizations must get used to standing out against the crowd and must be willing to push back against the machine that has dictated how Black, Indigenous and other racialized individuals live and work in Canada.

It won’t be easy and it won’t always feel good.

But that’s just it. Change is as uncomfortable as it is inevitable. And growing pains are a thing.


As part of OABP and the York University-TD Community Engagement Centre’s free workshop series designed to help Black and racialized individuals navigate racism in the workplace and help individuals become more impactful allies, you will learn how and where your anti-racism work can make a difference. There are limited spots available for the in-person programs. The program will also be made available online at a later and are in the process of being developed into a documentary with Potential Films Inc.

The program:

Social Action for Change is the third course in the Navigating Racism in the Workplace series, presented by Shequita Thompson-Reid.

“This course will take the principals and learning from sessions one and two and work collaboratively to focus on ways social change can be made. Participants will leave the session with key priorities of entry points to move change forward from their own personal vantage points.” – STR Consulting

Stay tuned to learn more about the final course in the program:

§ From the Page to the Stage

Strategies for Impactful Allyship is a workshop series specifically designed to help non-racialized individuals develop strategies to aid in impactful allyship. The series is also presented by Shequita Thompson-Reid. Allyship in Action is the second course in this series.

“Sessions will focus on allyship in action by unpacking spaces and places that allyship has been complicated, institutional impacts of allyship gone wrong and identify where participants can interrupt and leverage positional power. Participants will leave the session with an increased connection to understanding how organizational culture is built, held and maintained as well as the power and leverage for opportunities for authentic allyship.” – STR Consulting

Helpful resources:

1. Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022 – Government of Canada:

2. The Time’s Up Guide to Building an Anti-Racist Workplace – Time’s Up Foundation:

3. Anti-Racism Action Plan – Canadian Human Right’s Commission:

4. Restructure Your Organization to Actually Advance Racial Justice – Harvard Business Review:

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