• Dawn Ali


Updated: Sep 12, 2019

Sharing My Experience To Help Others

After writing about Fixing My Focus, and describing the racism I overcame at Salesloft, many people reached out to me and let me know that they were proud I wrote that article. They have been through the same situation of facing racism in the workplace. Someone told me how ill they felt due to the racism that happens in their workplace.

Why should anyone have to go into work and feel and be so oppressed that they feel physically sick?

The purpose of sharing my experience was to provide practices that helped me fix my focus. I was not expecting so many people to reach out to me directly and tell me that they are facing racism but as a result I started thinking of more ways to help.

Helping people where they are is something that I am truly passionate about. I believe we are all exactly where we need to be in every moment. Not only did my experience with racism help develop my gifts but sharing my experience has allowed me to go deeper in understanding how and why it is still in existence.

A couple of months after I had the experience of racism I attended a two day workshop with the Racial Equity Institute. The amount of information they go through with in a two day workshop is incredible! They really helped me understand racism through in depth lessons of American history.

I found it really interesting how they used the game Monopoly to describe the effects of the policies that governed America. We all know whoever has the opportunity to buy majority of the property first has the best chance at winning the game. Although slavery has ended and we now have equal opportunities for housing, white Americans had an early start at buying property. It shows how the systematic inequalities widened the racial wealth gap.

The Battle

Over the past week I began to realize this is a battle. I find it so interesting that I thought the idea of racism was small and it is a full on battle that has been going on for centuries.

After concluding that racism was a battle, I started asking a lot of questions.

What do you do when you are in a battle? What do you do when the battle is bigger than you? What happens when you are in a battle that you did not choose but it chose you? What happens when you are born into a world where the color of your skin determines your abilities or credibility?

I remember listening to Steven Furtick's, When The Battle Chooses You. It helped me to understand battles have been happening from the beginning of time. It also showed me the importance of knowing the nature of the battle as well as whose battle it is. Some battles you choose and some choose you.

Understanding Oppression And Colonialism

What does oppression mean?

Oppression is prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control.

When I looked at this definition, I instantly thought about the Trail of Tears that Native Americans faced and the Slavery that African Americans faced here in America. Oppression in America, has been in existence from the time Christopher Colombus exploited the lands. I thought about all the control that was taken into the hands of man. I then realized this was the purpose of colonialism and the effects that are still present.

Colonialism is the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.

A big realization I had was that racism, oppression, and colonialism are battles that are not ours to fight. We can work to bring in leaders who are fair and just as well change policies.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

Standing Firm in Faith

Waking up and realizing that I was in a battle that has been going on for a long time and was bigger than me, I asked What should I do?

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:11

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:9

I realized that getting upset or trying to fight in this battle was not going to accomplish anything. Through these scriptures I knew I had to Stand Firm in faith. I had to trust in the promises of God.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

Stand firm, and you will win life. Luke 21:19

Whenever we are facing a battle bigger than us we need to put our trust in God. It is not meant for us to take the battle into our own hands but to trust in the promises given to us. Oppression is not person to person or even person to company. It is much bigger than that and it is faced by many people of the world today. However, we are Not Alone!

He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. Psalm 72:4

Standing firm in the promises is not always easy. It is especially hard to hold true when you are in the midst of challenging times like oppression.

Whenever I am going through something that is unjust or cruel I remember that God crushes evil.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Romans 16:20

CNN commentator Van Jones to describe the times we are in as Whitelash Dramatic racial progress in America is inevitably followed by a white backlash, or "whitelash."

Although I see his point, I tend to think that God is crushing the evil that has come on American land through colonialism.

Addressing Racism And Oppression In A Workplace

3 ways to address racism and oppression in your workplace

1.) Be open to hear what your employees are saying regarding the workplace and make changes.

Having a safe and open environment where employees can bring up unjust practices and they can be addressed is key.

Listening and actually hearing what employees are saying with an open mind is very important. Whether you see what they are saying or not, they are not just saying it for their own benefit.

I know multiple people that have left Salesloft due to a lack of being heard and changes being made.

2.) Have an environment of Diversity and Inclusion.

Diversity and Inclusion is all about creating an environment where all employees feel included.

On my final day at Salesloft, we had a company wide meeting where I asked my CEO and COO what is the company doing to ensure that it has an inclusive environment for their diversity and they had no answer. They promoted the fact that they had a high diverse hiring rate but had no plans on how to make it an inclusive environment.

If multiple people are reporting that there is an issue with Diversity and Inclusion or racism, take action!

Conduct your research, ask your employees how they feel. If you cannot find a way to fix the problem get help. Hire a consultant or an organization that has experience with addressing these issues. The Racial Equity Institute does an excellent job at explaining some of the underlying things regarding inclusion and racism that you may not see.

3.) Provide mindfulness training.

Mindfulness is defined as the ability to stay in the present moment while maintaining a nonjudgmental awareness of your thoughts, feelings, body and environment. It is a practice to learn to stay attentive in the moment, observing rather than judging. It is a practice that can help employees have a more productive dialogue when dealing with difficult topics.

I facilitate a workplace mindfulness program to help reconnect disengaged employees to their inner self and being present in the moment. If you feel as if you are being judged and about opening up about your thoughts and the environment, you will become disengaged at work. Distractions and disengagement are also leading to vicious cycles of employee dissatisfaction.

With the experience of being disengaged and dissatisfied I realize it was costing myself as well as the company. Which is why I wanted to find a way through Outward Self to help employees as well as companies transform. The ROI on training the mind to be mindful, present, focused and aware yields positive results on day one and never stops!

If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in the place, and if you do not follow other gods to you own harm, them I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever. Jeremiah 7: 5-7

Sharing Is Caring

I hope this information was helpful! I am not an expert in this subject but I am always open to learning more. Leave a comment any additional advice or knowledge that you have. Also remember that sharing is caring. Please share with others!

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