In June this year we wrote to our community, outlining some of the steps we are taking to become an actively anti-racist business. This was in response to the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, which prompted us to reflect on the racism and injustices that exist here in Australia, and to honestly examine our own role in both the problems and the solutions. We realised we were not doing enough and needed to do more. So, we put pen to paper, to document our commitment and to outline the areas that we would be focusing on.
This week, as the nation celebrates NAIDOC Week, we wanted to provide an update on our journey so far. We have asked lots of questions, many that we felt we ‘should’ know the answers to, and others that are big and complex and don’t have easy answers. It’s been confronting, enlightening and, at times, overwhelming and hard. But more than anything, it’s been meaningful to actually be doing more, and to be holding ourselves accountable. The more we do, the more clearly we can see where we want to be as a business in the future.
Along the way so far, many people have helped us. We are deeply appreciative of the knowledge and generosity of friends, colleagues, and passionate individuals who have offered their expertise, encouragement and advice for ways that we can be more proactive and anti-racist as a business. These interactions have been incredibly useful and insightful, and they have helped us structure our approach and build a way forward. It is in this spirit that we humbly share where we are at, with the hope that it inspires other businesses and individuals to take meaningful action to contribute to real and lasting change.
In June we committed to listening and learning, to having conversations, and educating ourselves and our team. Over the last few months, the more we have learnt, the more we have realised how much we have to learn. The process has been both humbling and enlightening. Some of the recent highlights have included:
– Hosting virtual screenings and follow-up discussions with our team.
– Sharing interesting articles, books, music, films and anecdotes in our weekly communications with our entire staff.
Reconciliation Action Plan
We are in the early stages of building a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which helps set out a roadmap for how we contribute to Reconciliation as a business. As part of this process we have taken the following steps:
– Established a working group of individuals at Market Lane to help shape and deliver our RAP. This group meets every fortnight to review our goals, track our progress, share what we have learnt, and generate ways to engage the wider Market Lane team and community.
– Attended the Reconciliation Action Plan webinar series held by Reconciliation Australia.
– Engaged with an incredible Wurundjeri elder, Alice, who has helped us write a culturally sensitive and appropriate Acknowledgment of Country for each of our locations. This is now found on our website, newsletter, email communications, and our new brew guide and, starting soon, it will be displayed in all our shops and our head office.
– Began to document our goals, and the actions that we are taking as a business. Right now we are very action-oriented, and we’ve found that the more we learn through doing, talking, listening and questioning, the more clarity we have around what we want to do in the future. This has made formulating our action plan much easier.
– Started a wonderful relationship with Children’s Ground. To date, we have donated nearly $6000 and, during NAIDOC Week, we will be donating $1 for every bag of beans sold online and in our shops. Through this partnership, we have already learnt so much and we’re excited to continue to support Children’s Ground’s efforts to build a brighter future for the next generation of First Nations Peoples.
Of course, none of these steps on their own are a quick fix, but we are committed to this process, right now and into the future. We will continue to provide updates annually on our progress, and we welcome constructive feedback and ideas along the way.
We have been especially inspired and heartened by the enthusiasm and curiosity of our team, to learn more and to understand, value and appreciate the history and contemporary culture of First Nations Peoples. All of our above actions are just the start and, we feel, long overdue, and it means so much to us that our Market Lane community is engaging and embracing this process along with us.
Jason, Jenni & Fleur