As part of our "We are DWS" series we talk to Tina Lelli, ETF Capital Markets Specialist, about her support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the UK.
“Racism is a systemic problem that you frequently hear about on the news but until you’re actually the victim you don’t quite understand how big an impact it can have on your life,” says Tina.
Having experienced racial discrimination whilst studying, Tina encountered situations where she was treated differently because of her colour. “When you are young this can have a detrimental impact on your life and I began to question why this was happening to me,” she said. “I would try to change the way I approached various matters to try to fit in but it’s only when you become more aware of the numerous incidents of racism happening in the world that you begin to understand that you’re not the only person who is a victim of racial inequality.”
These examples, on top of charity work in her local community and a strong desire for fostering equality, diversity and inclusion have fuelled Tina’s passion to stand up to make a difference. “I’m proud to be a part of a diverse company which supports initiatives such as #100blackinterns. We can all make a difference and together we can make change”. As Rosa Parks famously said, “To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try”.
Race to Equality
Following the death of George Floyd earlier this year Tina launched a ‘Race to Equality’ Instagram site to educate people on how to combat systemic racism and get involved in a global running campaign. The site encourages people to walk or run 5km, donate £5 GBP to a charity focused on taking action against racial inequality and to nominate five friends to do likewise.
Quickly growing to over 2,000 followers across 15 countries the site supports organisations and charities which help black people with their mental health, provide legal assistance to those in need, and are committed to fighting racial inequality. Examples include Stand Up To Racism, Black Minds Matter and the Black Curriculum.
Frequently updated with new and trending content across global social media channels, the page provides bitesize summaries of antiracist books and educational resources on topics including environmental racism, the Windrush Generation and racial discrimination in the workplace.
Followers are then often encouraged to support a specific cause each month. “Since October marks Black History Month in the UK, throughout the month I have been sharing the achievements, history and contributions of black people to society,” Tina says.
On what happens next, Tina says it’s important to ensure that the BLM movement does not become a short-term social media trend. “My goal is to continue to raise awareness of systemic racism through working with other BLM causes and to run virtual campaigns during the year,” she says, adding that she’s even had initial interest from schools wanting to encourage children from younger ages to drive the change needed in today’s world.
“This has been fantastic as I strongly believe that education is the most powerful tool in overcoming racial inequality and social injustice which exists today,” she says. “The increased prevalence of the BLM movement in the media will likely have been noticed by many children, particularly through social media platforms so it remains vital for us to continue to spread awareness.”
To show your support for Tina and BLM you can follow and contribute to her site by searching Instagram for ‘Race To Equality’ on your personal devices.