Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a US nonprofit organisation that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people, globally. As CNW has always been an advocate of inclusivity we felt compelled to join the fight against institutionalised racism, especially here in Wales. Moving forward CNW will be a staunch antiracist tech community. That means we are making the commitment to fight racism wherever we find it. Starting within our own community.
Why did it take us this long to address BLM
Honestly, we were unsure as to whether our voice should be the one that’s leading this conversation. Then we realised this was part of the problem. We also wanted to take the time to educate ourselves, to better understand the magnitude of the problem, and what we can do to bring about transformative change. We now understand that it would have helped others to know that we supported BLM a lot sooner. This is a lesson learned and we will look to contribute further to this movement through open discussions on how we can do better as a community.
This isn’t an American problem
It is hard to realise that what we thought was equal is not. It is harder to want to change what is normal when not experiencing inequality. It is also easier to think that this is someone else’s problem and to even go as far as labeling racism as an American problem. It is a global problem that is happening within our communities and the companies we work for and it is critical that we address it. I reached out to friends asking them about their experiences and I have come to realise that this isn’t just about now, this is about the past and the future. From conversations of hearing how people expect to be treated less than others, not freely enjoying themselves at risk of being unfairly judged to ultimately being terrified of what the future holds for their children. I do not want to be part of a community that turns a blind eye to this.
This is not an empty vow to do more. We are completely overhauling the way we think (individually and collectively), and what we do today and every day that follows. Accountability is not merely a suggestion but a mandate for us.
How do we address racism
It starts by addressing our own biases and prejudices. But before we do that we must understand what our privileges are.
This blog post is helpful to understand the different types of privilege.
Being part of the community you can promote these learnings with others at home and in the workplace. We hope to give you the confidence that when you stand up against inequality you are not alone.
The community is here to literally stand with you in person when you need us.
What are the critical questions that we have to ask ourselves today, and continue to ask ourselves in the future
What is it to have privilege and can you share with others?
Is diversity promoted and actioned where you work?
What can we do together as a community
As a community, we lead. We promote the voices that aren’t heard and we listen to others. We learn from our failures as well as failures of those before us so we can avoid making the same errors. We have a better understanding of the past to ensure we build a better future. We discuss, especially when we feel uncomfortable to share.
Now I have your attention
Prior to COVID we started a mentoring scheme to help find Graham his first Data Science role. The scheme is to improve diversity within the technology industry. Graham is a final year student at Cardiff whilst also working as a Care Worker to fund his studies. I met Graham at a conference in Cardiff where he ran a workshop. Since then we’ve stayed in touch and have gotten to know eachother better.
He was looking for his first job in Data Science and so I offered to help him where I could. We paired up at conference workshops, attended talks together and met with local recruiters to prepare his CV and for potential interviews. Whilst getting to know Graham , I found out his laptop was broken and he was saving for a new one, we reached out to buisnesses in Cardiff and a laptop was donated to him from a local technology company.
Graham had passed the initial steps for his first interview getting to the final stage but sadly this didn’t work out.
Since COVID, the recruiting landscape has changed, Graham is still looking for his first Data Science role.
If you can help find a role for Graham, then we’re starting to make a difference. Please contact me and I’ll direct you to Graham.
This part of the post was written by Lewis Denham-Parry, co-founder of Cloud Native Wales. I’m sharing my experience and want to continue to learn and support others. Please DM or contact me via email if you’d like to contribute or discuss any points regarding this post or BLM.
I’d like to thank the people who have helped me write the post, sharing their experiences and articles to help better understand BLM.
We will add references to matterial that is helping us learn: