Want to stand up to racism but afraid of saying the wrong thing? Read on

Column: For a leader, awkwardness is no excuse for inaction.

by René Carayol

Richard was at home with his sons when the killing of George Floyd hit our TV screens in May last year. A most uncomfortable, disturbing and unforgettable 8 mins 46 secs forced its way into our lives. This tough emotional engagement forced many to realise that racism is more virulent, widespread and lethal than they’d thought.

It moved him to think much more about the situation that black people find themselves here in the UK. Richard [Smith] is the chief executive of Unite Students, and when he returned to their head office in Bristol, he put together a note titled Black Lives Matter and sent it to the whole workforce of nearly 3,000 colleagues. 

He ended the note by simply saying, “Should anyone want to follow up on this note please call me” and left his telephone number.

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