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Learning and Growing Through Conversation: A Lunch and Learn in Support of Black Lives Matter

In light of recent events, people from all over the world have united to demand justice, protest against racism, defend fundamental human rights, and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. As a company built on diversity, ApplyBoard is committed to supporting important causes such as this. 

In the face of injustice, our employees have come together to be part of the solution, reflecting one of our core values of “taking care of each other.” Working with the ApplyBoard Leadership Team, the ApplyCare committee raised funds for the Black Youth Helpline, a non-profit organization that helps protect black Canadian youth through education, health, and community development. ApplyBoard matched all employee donations and together we raised a total of $30,000 for the Black Youth Helpline.

In addition to our fundraising efforts, we have also launched a series of initiatives that help to raise awareness and encourage conversations about anti-racism. 

“Debunking Ridiculousness” – A Cultural Discussion and Lunch and Learn

Hosted by the ApplyCare committee, this Lunch and Learn was open to all staff members. It was an open conversation about race and identity in the context of history, and how we can improve and debunk misconceptions, myths, and stereotypes.

Jessie Estwick headshot

Jessie Estwick

Hosting this event was Jessie Estwick, Content Research Specialist at ApplyBoard. Jessie was born and raised in Toronto. With a double major in Legal Studies and Sociology from the University of Waterloo, Jessie has first-hand experience leading seminars and structured discussions. Most recently, Jessie was a panellist in a Black History Month event at Google. 

When asked why he wanted to host this event for our team, Jessie shared that it was “a combination of personal experience, previous involvement in leading seminars, and overall interest in the topic area.” Jessie also added that, “As a person of colour, I have experienced some of these situations myself, and in many places, I haven’t been given the opportunity to speak about it.”

“I wanted to provide the opportunity for our team to discuss current news and what ApplyBoardians can do to further the cause, and support our community,” said Jessie. “I didn’t want anyone to feel like there are right or wrong answers. I wanted to create a safe space for everyone to have open dialogues.” 

“The only way we’re going to get further is by having conversations about it. If you don’t talk about it, it’s going to fester. Sometimes it’s the simple questions that help people educate themselves and learn about the solutions.”

The event was well-received by team members and had very high engagement across all teams. Jessie shared that based on the success of this initiative, and the high engagement from June’s Pride Month celebrations, the ApplyCare committee is looking into ways to stay connected on these issues, and continue these important discussions. 

Special Guest, The Honourable Bardish Chagger

Attending this event as a special guest was the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and Member of Parliament for the Waterloo Region.

Through her work in the Waterloo Region, Minister Chagger is devoted to inclusion and community building. She joined this conversation to observe how companies like ApplyBoard are engaging in these important conversations, and what can be done to further stimulate important change in our community. 

“It was really meaningful that she took the time to join our call,” said Jessie. “She provided more legitimate, in-depth insights into the policies that govern our lives”.

Educational Resources for Staff

To further the discussion, and encourage our team members to keep educating themselves, ApplyCare committee members have been producing and providing links to educational resources where team members can continue to learn and grow. Topics include: 

  • A history of anti-black racism
  • Allyship
  • Recognizing microaggressions
  • What we can do to support our communities and strive towards an equitable future

This month was a valuable opportunity for us to step back and reflect on the reality that marginalized groups live on a daily basis and the potential impact that we, as a company, can make. In addition to making donations and continuing to educate ourselves on social justice, we will also continue to actively promote a fair and equitable work environment where all of our employees, regardless of race and ethnicity, can thrive and succeed.

Be sure to follow our Life at ApplyBoard page to keep up to date on all of the events and initiatives across the team!