In a heartfelt speech on YouTube, Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, founder of Redington and spokesman for the #talkaboutblack campaign, issued a call to action for companies and individuals to unite in their effort to eradicate racism and make the world a fairer place
Speaking as part of the #talkaboutblack campaign, which brings together asset management professionals to drive change in the industry, Konotey-Ahulu said this is the first time in human history that “all nations are united in our determination to root out the evil of racism”.
However, he urged both individuals and organisations to take action to support this campaign, because “if you do nothing, you are part of the problem”.
The focus on the struggles faced by minority black communities has been driven by a number of racially charged incidents in the US, such as the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and the actions of Amy Cooper. These atrocities have caused outrage across the world, with citizens of many nations taking to the streets despite the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Konotey-Ahulu, this is a sign that the world is finally waking up to a simple truth: “that black people, people of colour…very often are treated as second and even third-class citizens.”
“If you’re black…you’re more likely to struggle at school, if you have a black or an African surname, you don’t get the [job] interview,” he said.
“And even if you do, you don’t know the codes and the jargon because no one ever taught you, and you never went to the right school or university…Even if you do get the job, you know you’ll never make it to the top, or it will be a miracle if you do.”
If the industry wants to eradicate the root of this problem, which has persisted for hundreds of years, Redington’s founder says we must “join hands and stand together”.
“You don’t have to do something momentous, but you do have to take a stand,” he said.
Konotey-Ahulu calls for a three-point action plan for individuals and organisations to show their support for minority black communities and begin to “change the system”.
“First you need to learn about what it means to be black. You need to read blogs, watch talks, listen to podcasts, talk to black people, ask them to share their experience with you,” he said.
“Second, you have to know yourself, in this specific context. Where do you stand on the issue of race and true equality, and genuine equity? How much do you really know about it? How much do you care? Have you ever spoken up about this issue?
“If you would be prepared to go on that journey with us, we will get you everything you need. We’ll walk on broken glass to get you what you need.
“Third, please take action. That’s what really changes the game. Talk is just talk.
“When you invest directly and meaningfully in organisations and charities that are focused on helping black people realise their potential, when you empower your junior black employees, that’s where change really happens.”
The #talkaboutblack campaign has a comprehensive range of resources available to help those wanting to take a stance, but Konotey-Ahulu called for anyone with additional resources they wish to share to contact the campaign.