06.03.2020|Inside Verizon

How to start a conversation on race.

By: Marie McGehee

It may be a challenging topic, but we need to talk about it. Here’s a toolkit with resources to help get the conversation going.

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Please go to our new Race & Social Justice Action Toolkit page for the most recent resources

The actions that have unfolded over the past few weeks serve as a painful reminder that we have a long way to go before fundamental human and civil rights are equally respected. The only way we are going to drive effective and sustained change is to learn how to be an authentic and informed ally so we can call out systemic racism and injustice.

The first step forward is to listen and learn from those personally impacted. We all need to dig into the genesis of racism to understand how we got here and what needs to change. Second, we need to take what we learn and engage our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors to create a groundswell of honest conversations.

Initiating an open and unfiltered dialog about racism can be challenging, so we want to help. We have prepared a toolkit with employee-generated resources to jumpstart your education. Additionally, as many V Teamers have raised their hands eager to help, we are curating opportunities for employees to take action and support partners who are on the frontlines of battling racial injustice.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and we want this toolkit to grow based on your conversations and experiences. Please flag any additional resources and ideas in the comments on VZWeb.

Tools for families to start a conversation.

For tips on how you can start a conversation about race with your friends, family or colleagues, check out the following:

We are stronger together.

While no one person can solve these problems alone, our collective actions will make a difference. Join one of our Employee Resource Groups and help us promote a culture rooted in inclusiveness and belonging.

Listen and learn.

Get educated about the issues. Craig Silliman and his team have been working with many organizations who are on the front lines of criminal justice reform. Last year, he did a podcast on this issue with our Up To Speed team.

Additional resources.

Our Up To Speed team and VMG colleagues have curated additional resources that will help us become informed, actionable allies as we work together to achieve the change we want and need to see. Comment on VZWeb to share any other resources you think should be part of the conversation.

Books:

Podcasts:

Watch:

  • Replay: A Finance team conversation on race.
  • Verizon + BUILD Series Present Proud of My Hair
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  • Ava DuVernay
  • American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975 — Available to rent
  • Clemency (Chinonye Chukwu) — Available to rent
  • Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
  • Fruitvale Station (Ryan Coogler) — Available to rent
  • I Am Not Your Negro (James Baldwin doc) — Available to rent or on Kanopy
  • If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
  • Just Mercy (Destin Daniel Cretton) — Available to rent
  • King In The Wilderness — HBO
  • See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
  • Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution — Available to rent
  • The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
  • When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix

Articles and Websites:

Mental Health Resources:

Volunteer to make a difference.

In these times, it’s important to remember you are not alone. Whenever you sign up to volunteer, your actions are matched by 135,400 fellow V Teamers creating a groundswell of global good. With over 150 virtual events on our Volunteer Platform, you can have an immediate impact by offering your time and skills to help our most vulnerable community members. We are in the process of identifying volunteer opportunities for employees to take action as allies.

Also, please raise your hand to recommend a volunteer opportunity that increases equity and promotes racial justice across the Black community. We want to hear from V Teamers who are working with organizations that are effectively advocating for civil and human rights.

Take action together.

The Verizon Foundation has committed $10 million to social justice organizations, shared equally with these groups:

Should you want to donate to any of the above organizations, make sure to check out our match program to have your impact doubled.

Hear from our leaders.

We hosted a powerful panel discussion featuring Verizon leaders who shared how racism has impacted their lives. Hear what our own V Teamers recommend when it comes to taking action as allies.

About the author(s):

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