Thank you so much for everyone's interest and attendance at our June 28 event at community center Anansi in Amsterdam Zuid-Oost: Not words, but deeds: the launch of the FYJAS Racism and Discrimination Hallmark., sponsored by the MDRA and SWAZOOM. With around 40 participants in the end, we greatly enjoyed your enthusiasm and the warm reception of this new initiative to structurally combat racism and discrimination in organizations. Fill in the contact form to keep abreast of news and developments surrounding the hallmark. Below is a brief impression of the event.
Taking action and making an impact
Raisa Ghazi, moderator and host of the afternoon aptly introduced the event:
'There are many organizations that pledge to fight discrimination, but then take no action. It is harmful when organizations pretend to care about discrimination and racism while taking no action. My wish for the new label is that it makes IMPACT. So that we can all achieve our potential.'
Andwele Slory and Tyronne Ebuehi tell their personal stories
The FYJAS seal of approval came about when CEO Marjorie Esajas' son was discriminated against during his career as a professional soccer player. The afternoon began with his personal story and that of professional soccer player Tyronne Ebuehi. Andwele, now working as a player-maker, explained the importance of making a statement: "If it happens again, I will step off the field. Tyronne also faces a lot of racism on the field and hopes there will be no more racism in the future. 'It's important for people to know what it does to someone. Not just in soccer, but also in everyday life.
Spoken word artist Fleksick (Shaneegua Flechsig)
"Going back in time, being the boss of your own body~Fleksick
Black with red blood with a blue glow
Wounds are purple
Where are you from?"
Fleksick touched a nerve with her beautiful spoken word about living with double blood in the Netherlands. You can follow her on Instagram via @fleksick and hopefully we will see her back on many stages!
Malcolm Jones, council member Party for the Animals Leiden
Malcolm spoke about inclusive communities. "You can think of a more inclusive community as a diamond in the rough. If you don't make the effort, it doesn't sparkle. If you do make the effort to polish it then you get that beautiful sparkle that everyone longs for. Malcolm is positive about the FYJAS seal of approval: it is an important step in the right direction. Then soon we can enjoy more quality. Because not everyone makes it to the top, it's an extra struggle if you're different.'
Sarah Elbadr-Boers, quartermaster Amsterdam Divers & Inclusive
Sarah was unfortunately absent due to illness. Fortunately, Jerrol Marten presented her speech. Sarah emphasized that if it is just an empty seal of approval, no one will benefit, people will see through it. But if it is a hallmark with content, scrutiny, accountability and it really makes them a better and discrimination-free employer? Then that has multiple benefits for them:
- They will attract more applicants, very important in this tight job market.
- The people who are hired are more likely to stick around because if real work is done to make the workplace safe for everyone, they will want to stay instead of being bullied out or resigning because the work atmosphere is unsafe.
- You create a standard, this is me as an employer. By the way, this does not mean that everything will immediately go perfectly, it could be that in the beginning there will be more reports of undesirable behavior or discrimination. But more reports are not always a bad thing. What we often see is that companies that want to pay more attention to diversity also uncover more problems. The problems have always been there, only now are people daring to say something. So more reports can also be a good sign. After all, it means that we are finally, finally moving in the right direction.
Jerrol Marten, Director Meldpunt Discriminatie Regio Amsterdam
Jerrol explains that the label sets an important standard that helps eliminate discrimination and racism: "That's what I'm missing now. No standard is set, anything goes under the guise of satire. The hallmark points us back in the right direction." Jerrol summarizes the Meldpunt's recent research on labor market discrimination: as many as 70 percent of Amsterdam companies do not respond adequately to workplace discrimination. Companies trivialize complaints about discrimination, or dismiss a discriminatory remark as a joke. For the study, the Meldpunt analyzed 125 files from 2018, 2019 and 2020. Charters and the like all rely on goodwill; there is no stick. The FYJAS Racism and Discrimination Hallmark is.'
Angelo Birjmohun, youth coach and marketer
Angelo shares his story about an internship at a renowned company where he systematically faced discrimination and exclusion. The predominance in the organization was white and there was a certain culture that nobody dared to say anything about. Angelo made the translation for himself by focusing on things he could influence himself. Like going against stereotypes where people expect you to be late or not finish your work on time. Angelo: "I wish I had also had a coach during that period, like I am for others now. So this is probably how it should have gone.'
Marjorie Esajas, CEO FYJAS
Marjorie hooks into the title of the event: "It is not for nothing that this day is called 'Not words, but deeds.' We always wait until the devil comes out of the box again and everyone talks about discrimination and racism. But we need to tackle this problem proactively so it can be prevented. The label helps tremendously with that. You hold organizations and associations responsible for providing a safe environment and an effective anti-discrimination policy.'
Marjorie's dream is for the hallmark to become mandatory nationwide and be implemented at all private and public organizations, including the sports sector, nationwide. She invites anyone who is interested, wants more information, or wants to help make the hallmark a success to get in touch. This can be done by contacting the fill out contact form or mail to email@example.com.
Mitchell Esajas, Co-founder New Urban Collective, The Black Archives
Mitchell says that following the Black Lives Matter protests, many organizations posted a black box on social media as a show of support. 'But if you were to measure after a year what organizations actually did against racism that year, you'll probably find that the majority only made token gestures.' That's why Mitchell thinks the seal is so important. 'It's a concrete tool to combat discrimination.'
We ended the day with an enthusiastic audience panel, in which people from the audience participated in a panel discussion. The panel consisted of:
- Vayhishta Miskin (Member Dagelijks Bestuur Amsterdam Zuidoost)
- Mirka Antolovic (director Tumba)
- Mitchell Esajas (Co-founder New Urban Collective, The Black Archives)
- Shaun Voogd (co-owner and Creative Director FILMMACHT)
- Sacha Martina (Founder & CEO Your Talent Agency)
Sacha explains, "this is the cherry on top of something that has been needed for a long time. I always have to explain that I am the CEO of my company because I don't fit the stereotypical image of a CEO. Vayhistha explains that as the mother of two children, she does not want them to experience the same pain, sadness and helplessness. 'If only this was there when I was young, it's incredibly cool that it's there now.' Shaun would like to contribute ideas on how to further promote the label. Mitchell hooks up: starting small can end up being big, if people share information in their networks. Mirka: anti-discrimination facilities can also help promote the label by offering it as a solution to organizations we speak to. Vayhishta would also like to contribute to publicizing the label from her role as Daily Board at Amsterdam Zuidoost.
Thank you to all the speakers and panelists for a great day. Here's to a future where the FYJAS Racism and Discrimination Hallmark is here to stay!
Not words, but deeds!