Sustainability, resilience, and doing the right thing have always been at the core of Argus. Recent violent acts against Black people in the US and other parts of the world, and the rallying cry to eliminate racism have left a deep impression on our island. Acknowledging a history of racial injustice and the renewed demand for conversations around meaningful action has given rise to organisations and groups determined to keep the wheels of change turning around anti-black racism in Bermuda. Over the last two years, many businesses have taken the opportunity to examine their corporate culture to see how they could do better.
Acknowledging that there is a problem was just the beginning. Like many companies around the world, Argus is working to address systemic racism. We recognise that equal opportunity must get the attention it deserves. We asked ourselves, “How can we ensure that our colleagues feel seen and supported?” and came to the conclusion that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) need to take a more prominent role in our talent management and the overall structure of the company.
From the initial ripples felt by the murder of George Floyd in 2020, internal meetings and executive-level commitment were cemented with actionable, long-term goals. Our CEO, Ms. Alison Hill, provided us with the necessary resources to start anchoring anti-black racism initiatives as core pillars of Argus’ DE&I framework.
We needed to find out how our colleagues felt about and lived with racism at work and in their everyday lives. We partnered with an anti-racism organisation that helped us take the first steps to understand and listen. It’s a complicated topic to discuss in a corporate setting with many experiences and perspectives to consider.
Our colleagues were forthright and compassionate during interviews, and we discovered things about ourselves that gave us the clarity needed to focus and act.
The Black Lives Matter Committee (BLM) was formed to create tailored solutions and tackle the monumental task of identifying institutionalised racism within Argus and work to eliminate it. Anti-racism is now a fixed agenda item during global town halls and its focus impacts high-level and everyday executive decisions around company culture and increasing race fluency. Two co-executive sponsors were appointed to lead anti-racism efforts – the Chief Global Compliance and Audit Officer and Chief Communications Officer – and I accepted the role of BLM Committee chairman. Supported by members from all Argus jurisdictions, we are working to build a better future as we continue to unlearn racism and strive to weave the anti-racism framework into all aspects of governance, health, attracting and retaining talent, economics and education.
Our goal is to support individuals at Argus with the tools, language, and clear understanding of what institutionalised racism looks like and ultimately eliminate it. We are far from done, but we believe consistent action makes a difference.
Our BLM programme is a key pillar of our future DE&I plans and initiatives. To date, we have posted resources and documents on the company Intranet, delivered anti-racism education sessions, highlighted our anti-racism goals in our annual report, and will publish our first sustainability report, which includes a section on our commitment to DE&I and anti-black racism.
“As the world tried to make sense of the fallout of racism and bigotry, we felt the need to understand how institutionalised structures of racism touch us all on every level. I wanted to help create a better world for my two boys. Unlearning behaviours that have been internalised and often implemented is uncomfortable – and this requires resilience and support at all levels. I am privileged to have the ability to start.” - Phillip Davis, Argus BLM Committee Chair and Head of Marketing and Digital Engagement.
We are grateful for the incredible support we’ve received from our colleagues, board members, allies and partners. Their assistance has helped us start to create a better internal system and make meaningful changes for ourselves and for the people who make up our communities.
Read Bermuda Media's full issue of "Diversity, Equality & inclusion in Bermuda" here.