Page 19

The intent of anti-racist work is not to dissect each individual instance, but rather to have safe, open discussions that result in forward-focused solutions.

Support I started working in the parking industry at a municipality in Canada in my early twenties. My manager at the time, a middle-aged White man, sat me down and said, “You are going to have a hard time in this industry because you are a young Black woman, but here is how I am going to support.” He knew my professional reality and made a promise to navigate it with me. He made it his mission to ensure I always felt included, had access to opportunities, and called out racist actions for me so I didn’t have to. This was my introduction to allyship, and I cannot begin to explain how grateful and appreciative I was (and still am) for that support. I began my career very aware of how my race and gender would work against me, but the acknowledgement and support from my organization and mentor was incredible. This is the work of allies—those with privilege must use it to hold space for, amplify the voices of, and advocate for the needs of those who are marginalized. That is what true support looks like.

Commitment The moment I accept a new job, position, or challenge, I am fully committed and will give the opportunity my very best. I’ve never thought to ask my employer to make a reciprocal, explicit commitment to anti-racism; to me, that should be the starting point for any organization. By

commitment, I don’t mean the commonly found “we are an equal opportunity employer” on a website or a job posting. Those are just words. Organizations need to take actual action to ensure they are being actively anti-racist and working to eradicate systemic racism. For example, implementing policies, practices, and initiatives that directly support disenfranchised individuals in the workforce. Is there diversity at all levels of your organization, or is diversity situated only at the more junior levels? If it’s the latter, your hiring practices and professional development programs need to be reviewed. It’s also crucial that a diversity and inclusion lens is applied to all corporate goal setting and decision making, so it permeates an organization’s culture and is more than a one-off checklist item. Anti-racism is an ongoing and holistic commitment that organizations must make. Relationships are difficult. We often spend more time (virtual or otherwise) with our work family than our actual family. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s the importance of transparent, respectful, and meaningful connections for our emotional and mental well-being. More than a year after George Floyd’s murder sparked international outrage, my hope is that organizations, colleagues, friends, and family continue to define their own growth objectives, navigate difficult situations and conversations with empathy, and educate themselves on how to be anti-racist in a genuine, lasting way. ◆ REACHEL KNIGHT is business strategy coordinator with the Calgary Parking Authority. She can be reached at reachel. knight@calgaryparking.com.

PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG / AUGUST 2021 / PARKING & MOBILITY 17