Chairperson’s opening comments
In setting the scene for this session, we look at the origins of race as a social construct, look at the defining moments in the race discussion over the past years, and the magnitude of this journey, going forward.
Keynote: After the Tampa
When the Taliban were at the height of their power in 2001, one family’s desperate search for safety took them on a harrowing journey from the mountains of Afghanistan to a small fishing boat in the Indian Ocean, crammed with more than 400 other asylum seekers. When their boat started to sink, they were mercifully saved by a cargo ship, the Tampa. However, one of the largest maritime rescues in modern history quickly turned into an international stand-off, as Australia closed its doors to these asylum seekers. While many of those rescued by the Tampa were the first inmates sent to the island of Nauru, Abbas and his family were some of the lucky few to be resettled in New Zealand. In a powerful and inspiring story for our times, Abbas celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.
We need to talk: Racism at work
Dr Virginia Mapedzahama, Member Education Director, Diversity Council Australia
Across the western world, conversations about race and racism are deeply awkward. Cultural exclusion and structural disadvantage became preferred terminology to keep DEI practitioners safe from backlash. But, with the global outrage in 2020 and subsequent solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign, came a readiness to be more courageous in this work. In this time of racial reckoning the Diversity Council Australia undertook extensive research to create evidence-based guidelines to effectively address racism at work, and in doing so, support racial diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Drawing from the research findings, we will look at why anti-racism needs to be on the agenda for organisations.
The master's house – structures of exclusion in Aotearoa New Zealand
Haylee Putaranui, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Fonterra
“For the master's tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Audre Lorde.
As an organised system, racism operates at multiple levels, both structurally and interpersonally. This presentation looks at the development of structural exclusion for the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, and how these structures result in adverse career outcomes for Māori. We look at how the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi feed into the workplace and how leaders can improve the employment experience for Māori.
Panel discussion: Navigating race and culture conversations in the workplace
- Earle Wilkes
- Rahul Govinden
- Janelle Mims
- Pratima Namasivayam
Open, honest conversations with employees about inequality are an important part of diversity, equity and inclusion. So how can companies ensure that conversations about race and racism at work are meaningful and productive? In this discussion, our panel of experts explore the complexities of navigating discussions about race and identity in the workplace across the globe. We look at the nuances of race and culture in New Zealand, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore. We consider how to have effective conversations with people leaders and colleagues about these concepts, and we think about the principles, steps and considerations for organisations in encouraging race and culture conversations.
Case study: From diversity and inclusion to anti-racism
Dr Sripriya Somasekhar, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager, Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment
Through this case study, we will hear why and how a large public sector organisation implemented an anti-racism programme. The way in which bias affected day-to-day decision making in the organisation are addressed along with the prevalence of microaggressions and the impact thereof on wellbeing. We will look at the role of line managers in creating a culture where all are educated enough to understand how to interrupt their own biases and how to address microaggressions when they take place.
Session Chair: Ziena Jalil