By Catherine Rolley

Many of us have been saddened and shocked by the stories of racism we’ve heard over the past few weeks. Since George Floyd was killed under the knee of a police officer in late May, we have been reminded about the appalling statistics of black deaths at the hands of police.

The Black Lives Matter movement started in the United States but it applies to Australia as well. There have been 434 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991 and a culture of entrenched racism. There is so much white Australians can learn about Indigenous history and how to push against the systemic oppression that they face. We have spent the past few weeks listening and learning more about the oppression Aboriginal Australians face. We believe that all brands could and should be doing more. This topic and movement affects us all, and it’s up to all of us to dismantle entrenched racism. Here are some ways brands can support the Black Lives Matter movement.

1. Don’t Stay Silent

Don’t stay silent, and don’t post meaningless content. Performative allyship is not going to cut it and you will rightly get called out. If you have previously failed at including BIPOC in your brand, admit your wrongdoings and make clear commitments about how you plan to bring anti-racist protocols, products, services, marketing into your business going forward.

2. Demonstrate change and action

Posting the black square and then going back to your usual business practices is not enough. How are you as a business going to become more inclusive going forward? What tangible anti-racist activities are you going to incorporate into your daily business practices? What corporate culture values can you reassess and edit to ensure that your employees are educated on how to do business in an anti-racist way? Go into details online, your audience wants to know and you will stay accountable if you make a public pledge.

3. Share useful resources

A big part of this movement is about people in a position of privilege educating themselves on black and indigenous history. Use your editorial and social platforms to amplify BIPOC voices by sharing resources like podcasts, books, art and influencers to follow. Repost and share their content on your platform instead of your own feelings on the topic.

4. Support and get involved in initiatives

Is there a local Black or Indigenous charity you can subscribe to and encourage others to do the same? If there are campaigns that need help, share these with your audience to help the momentum, especially if you have a large audience.

Charities/Organisations to help

Do business with Indigenous business owners

If you use vendors, suppliers, products or hire people, make a concerted effort to find indigenous business owners and candidates. Celebrate their work and tell your audience about what these people and businesses can do. If you’re not sure where to start looking, try Supply Nation

Don’t commercialise BLM posts, ever

Popping your branding on content you are sharing to amplify BIPOC voices is not the kind of post to be putting your logo on or allowing brands to sponsor. This type of content is community content to authentically contribute to the movement.

Diversity your social media feed

How many BIPOC people do you follow on social media? Do your research and find BIPOC accounts to follow and interact with. There is a myriad of artists, activists, writers, podcasters, influencers, business owners and thought leaders that you can follow and learn from. Check out a list of accounts to follow on our @DigitalCollectiveCo Instagram page.

A list of accounts that we love include:

American voices:

Use the correct abbreviations

Avoid the term ‘anti-white’ as this implies being ‘white’ is the norm and anything else can be lumped in together as ‘different’. Be specific about who you are referring to.

WOC – Women of colour
POC – People of Colour
BIPOC – Black, Indigenous, People of Colour
AAVE – African American Vernacular English
BAME Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic

Indigenous brands we can support

Check that any brands that are officially registered businesses at Supply Nation.

What are we doing at Digital-Collective.Co?

Here at Digital-Collective.Co, we have pledged to do our part in being an anti-racist ally. We have added four new commitments to our core group of values.

These commitments are:

  1. Educate – We will educate ourselves using anti-racist works to understand our part in the system and how to work against oppression
  2. Donate – We have chosen to donate to ANTaR, a charity creating justice, rights and respect for Australia’s First Peoples
  3. Call Out Racism – We will keep colleagues, friends, and family accountable by standing up to displays of discriminatory behaviour and protocols
  4. Support BIPOC – We will seek out opportunities to support Black, Indigenous and People of Colour businesses, work, art, and initiatives.

What other ways can brands support the Black Lives Matter movement?