Monday,  July 13, 2020  4:05 am

Travel pros confront anti-Black racism in Canadian travel industry at upcoming event

  • Other
  •   06-30-2020  10:30 am
  •   PAx Global Media

Travel pros confront anti-Black racism in Canadian travel industry at upcoming event
From left: Maxine Gundermann, market sales manager, Eastern Ontario, Celebrity Cruises; Shalene Dudley, founder, Latitude Concierge. (Supplied)
PAx Global Media

Canadian travel professionals are invited to join a virtual event, “Let’s Get Uncomfortable: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada’s Travel Industry,” scheduled to take place virtually on July 7th, 2020 from 5-7 p.m. ET / 2-4 p.m. PT.

As conversations about systemic, anti-Black racism dominate headlines and political discussions, companies are being urged to confront and correct internal biases.

The travel industry is among those being taken to task for its lack of diversity, with calls to commit to anti-racist practices from various media outlets and to demonstrate “true allyship” by new organizations such as the Black Travel Alliance.

Through a panel format, “Let’s Get Uncomfortable” will address workplace inequities and anti-Blackness in tourism from the perspectives of both travel professionals and travellers, while also addressing anti-racist action that attendees can implement within their work and organizations.

The panel will be moderated by LGU organizer, Shalene Dudley, founder of Latitude Concierge. Dudley will be joined by Maxine Gundermann, market sales manager, Eastern Ontario at Celebrity Cruises; Margie Jordan, owner of Jordan Executive Travel Service; Kier Matthews, director of sales at Classic Vacations; and Tolu Aladejebi, founder of Black in Hospitality.

"Representation in the travel industry can be improved but it will take bold moves and dedicated change-makers willing to expand and collaborate to break through a system that is so deeply rooted in our consciousness," Dudley stated. "This 'Let's Get Uncomfortable' event will be a place to have that conversation, force people to acknowledge the racism and disparities that exist, and hopefully, inspire action and transformation.”

Added Gundermann: “Fundamentally, the travel industry is not safe nor excluded from anti-Black racism. As a place of employment, corporations and all members have the responsibility to be aware of and protect against discrimination in all its forms and actively work towards improvements for equal opportunity. Travel in and of itself creates openness to expose ourselves to multiple cultures and diversities, however to paraphrase from another leader, diversity doesn’t automatically mean inclusion.”

Travel professionals who wish to contribute to the event’s conversation can do so by sharing their own encounters with racism in travel here. Submissions will be shared during the discussion and are completely anonymous.

“Let’s Get Uncomfortable: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada’s Travel Industry” is open to all travel professionals.

Free tickets are available, though participants are encouraged to pay to join in an effort to help the LGU team compensate panelists. Register here for access. 

Businesses are also invited to contribute as “silent sponsors”; those interested can contact event organizers at letsgetuncomfortableevent@gmail.com.

This is the second “Let’s Get Uncomfortable” event, the first of which addressed gender equity in Canada’s travel industry in 2018.

The organization was founded by a small group of travel professionals who are committed to bringing difficult conversations to the fore within the industry.

More events about diversity and inclusion within travel & tourism will be scheduled throughout the year. Industry professionals interested in joining the organizing committee can e-mail letsgetuncomfortableevent@gmail.com.

Reading and resources can be found by visiting letsgetuncomfortable.ca.

What: Let’s Get Uncomfortable: Confronting Anti-Black Racism in Canada’s Travel Industry. When: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Where: Virtually. Register by clicking here


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