I’m Toni Barzey-François and I work for Co-op Food in our Manchester support centre. October is Black History Month, so it seems like the perfect opportunity to talk about how our Co-op supports Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) colleagues like me.
A new colleague network
I’m working with the diversity team to set up a new network for BAME colleagues. This will be a place where we can share experiences and help each other overcome barriers. It’s a very Co-op thing to do and fits perfectly with our Ways of Being Co-op, as well as our Group Purpose.
The new group will sit alongside Co-op’s existing colleague networks, making sure that all colleagues feel supported and able to succeed. It’s still early days, but I’m really excited about it. If you’re interested in getting involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why do BHM and the new network matter?
Black History Month is important as it’s the only time of year where we focus on British BAME culture and its history. This month groups like our new network help bring BAME issues into the spotlight and give us much needed role models. Ideally we’d all live in a world where everyone was equal, but the reality is that we’re not there yet. A recent study showed that out of the UK’s 1,000 most powerful people, only 36 come from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Celebrating Black History Month and getting involved with colleague networks, are for everyone. We all have a role to play in making our Co-op a great place to work, and these are just two ways we can.