VHA Action Group brings transformative anti-racism and allyship education opportunities to leaders
This fall, the Anti-Black Racism Action Group at VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) launched its first-ever anti-racism and equity training for leaders. The sessions were led by renowned speaker and educator Camille Dundas. “My primary goal with my training sessions is to interrupt thinking and decision making norms, in order to shine light on hidden biases or stereotypes. My other goal is to get participants out of their bubble,” said Camille. The training, which took place throughout October and November, consisted of two sessions and were attended by over 80 VHA leaders including executives, managers, supervisors and clinical leads.
The first session, Beyond the Underground Railroad: A look at Canada’s History with Systemic Racism, focused on:
- Understanding the history behind how systemic racism was created
- Understanding how anti-Black-racism manifests in the workplace in the form of microaggressions
- Supporting racialized employees during global unrest/trauma
- Responding to microaggressions as a leader, and how to lead difficult conversations
- Tips on how leaders can build a culture of belonging
The second session, Introduction to Racial Equity, had the following learning outcomes:
- Defining and differentiating between conscious and unconscious bias, overt and covert racism
- Recognizing microaggressions and the impact they have on racialized communities in the workplace
- Gaining confidence with anti-racism discourse
- Identifying opportunities in the employee journey to mitigate bias and foster an inclusive environment
- Strategies for Allyship in the workplace
“The VHA Leaders I’ve engaged with through these sessions show earnest commitment to learning how to apply the ideas and concepts they’ve learned about to their day to day lives both at work and in their communities,” noted Camille.
Looking ahead to 2022, the Anti-Black Racism Action Group plans on rolling out anti-racism and equity training specific to the needs of its personal support workers, nurses and rehab service providers in addition to continuing efforts for VHA leaders.
On what a marker of a successful education session is, Camille had this to say.
“I think when people are able to drop the fear of saying the wrong thing, when they’re able to admit their own mistakes, their own biases and have a moment where they realize, ‘I can do better because I know better now,’ and instead of having a sense of shame or guilt about their own privilege, they can see their privilege as power. Their privilege gives them the power to interrupt and essentially destroy systems of oppression,” she said.
Camille Dundas is the Editor-in-Chief of Canada’s largest Black online magazine ByBlacks.com. She has led her team to win three national ethnic media press awards and an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Camille has also been named among the top 100 Black Canadian Accomplished Women. Over the last three years, Camille has become one of Canada’s most requested DEI consultants, having worked with universities across North America and global Fortune 500 companies. Her education DEI sessions are anchored in a historical understanding of systemic racism and how that has impacted today’s corporate culture, and her delivery is deeply rooted in her own lived experience as a Black woman in the workplace.