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CPCS stands with black, brown and marginalized communities globally

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Philip Asante | June 4, 2020

Photo by Xena Goldman

CPCS Partner Philip Asante opens up as systemic racism and racial injustices continue to erode civil rights, dignity and kill people of colour.

To our clients, partners and employees who are part of black, brown and marginalized communities:

George Floyd’s brutal and senseless murder caught on video swells the list of black people killed and publicly humiliated.

Many others have died, and they were not captured on video.

This systemic racism reveals how much white people can blatantly use their privileges given to them by society – the same privileges denied to black people.

Black Lives Matter

Seeing black, brown and other marginalized people treated unequally and unfairly hurts me profoundly.

Know that I hear you, I see you and I stand with you. So does CPCS. As a partner in this firm and a member of the black community, I cultivate opportunities for its members every time I can.

My journey to CPCS started in Ghana and took me to Europe, the United States and to Ottawa, Canada, which I now call my home. But along the way, I was told to dismiss any expectations of success because “they don’t hire people like you,” or that I am another “token hire.”

Strength in greater diversity

Today, I see how diverse perspectives are essential in solving complex problems and creating meaningful impacts.

The breadth of expertise at CPCS leads to solutions that are tailored to our clients’ needs and context.

Within its circle of influence, CPCS fights inequality and systemic racism through its projects, business model and working life.

For example:

  • Many of our employees, who reflect the diversity of markets and clients we serve globally, are also owners in CPCS.
  • Both our diversity, equity and inclusion and environmental and social responsibility policies are foundational to grow the company.
  • Through our Infrastructure Development Unit, we support local business to invest in infrastructure assets to ensure that Africans control the means of production on their continent.

Our involvement with black, brown and marginalized communities is a long-standing value at CPCS. We wouldn’t be able to develop solutions for growing economies if we didn’t work with these communities.

Doing what’s right and do better even when no one is watching

CPCS knows it has to make room for more diversity. It is acting to increase the percentage of black people, other minorities and women on its board of directors, senior management team and global team.

For this, I salute the firm’s Managing Partners Jean-François Arsenault and Marc-André Roy to act decisively and being upstanders. I know they come from a place of compassion and solidarity.

“It’s your responsibility and also mine as a leader, citizen and privileged person to educate myself, listen, empathize and act upon that knowledge. It’s not enough to say ‘I didn’t know’. Knowing is a responsibility.

As such, I ask everyone at CPCS, and beyond, to stop and reflect on their privilege. Raise your consciousness of the impact systemic racism has. Check your biases and be an agent of change. The burden does not rest on the shoulders of marginalized communities.” Jean-François Arsenault

“While I’m a white man and will never fully understand this experience, I’m committed to amplifying the voice of marginalized individuals, call out and help remove the barriers they face.

I’m a person of tremendous privilege, frankly, by happenstance. This means I have an obligation at work and in my personal life to speak up and act when I witness discrimination. I take this seriously, and I’m proud to work with Philip and many other CPCS colleagues who are doing their part to make the world fairer and more diverse.” Marc-André Roy

CPCS is proud to work alongside black, brown and marginalized communities. You can count on me and the whole team at CPCS to be allies in the fight against racial inequality.

I would like to leave you with this beautiful and thoughtful message written by our colleague Chinelo Egbunonu on how allies can continue to use their privilege actively.

Thank you,

Philip