Time for diversity is now

CAM-CCBC reinforces actions and celebrates Black Awareness Month with initiatives to raise the consciousness of its collaborators

By Sérgio Siscaro

Diversity is a subject that is increasingly gaining more attention – whether in working environment relationships or in the promotion of equality of opportunity for everyone, by encouraging the firm fight against any form of discrimination. Recently, the discussion on structural racism existing in Brazilian society has been standing out in these debates, raising questions and demanding effective initiatives from private and public organizations.

CAM-CCBC has been noted for its constant work in promoting diversity – be it of gender, race or sexual orientation.  The Center has a history of affirmative policies of inclusion and awareness of its collaborators and, in a broader way, promotes these values in the community that works with alternatives dispute resolution (ADRs).

Recently the team was empowered with the hiring of three black women lawyers. “Diversity is essential for an ethical and legitimate performance, and CAM-CCBC is deeply committed to its implementation, both internally as well as within the ADRs community, as a whole. May we be the change we want to see in the world”, states Eleonora Coelho, president of the Center.

Material for reflection

In November, when Black Awareness Month was celebrated, the Center distributed to its collaborators, copies of the book Pequeno Manual Antirracista (Little Anti-racist Manual), by the philosopher and activist Djamila Ribeiro – an institutional action that aimed to stimulate dialogue on racial diversity, in the field of ADRs. In the book, Ribeiro presents reflections on racial relations, seeking to unravel the ways in which racism permeates Brazilian society, calling on all individuals to take an active role in the fight against discrimination.

In a text that was attached to the books delivered to CAM-CCBC collaborators, the assistant case managers Monique Rodrigues do Prado and Haydée Paixão Fiorino Soula, lawyers with a history of engagement in the anti-racist movement, emphasized how the discussion is relevant to professionals of the field. “The ADR community is not immune from the complexities of ethnic-racial issues,” they point out, recalling the famous arbitration case of rapper and businessman Jay-Z, who, when initiating a procedure before the American Arbitration Association (AAA), exposed the lack of ethnic-racial representation on the institution’s arbitrators list.

Anti-racist battle

An important event of CAM-CCBC to promote its culture of diversity was a virtual lecture, held in November, with the CEO of the consultancy Uzoma Diversidade, Educação e Cultura (Uzoma Diversity, Education and Culture), Elizabete Scheibmayr. With the theme “Why it is so difficult to talk about racism”, the speaker – who also leads the diversity committee of the Group Women Brazil – shared her knowledge about racial equality and the history of black population struggle.

The event was one of the actions coordinated by the internal committee Diversidade em Ação (Diversity in Action), from CCBC and CAM-CCBC, and with the active participation of assistant case managers Prado and Soula. During the lecture, Scheibmayr offered the opportunity for black participants to actively express themselves, by telling their stories – which made the webinar an experience closer to the Center’s collaborators.

More awareness

Another important initiative of the Center is Projeto Diversidade (Diversity Project), which has been structured to increase the level of consciousness of ADR community participants about the need to engage in affirmative actions that promote diversity. The project goes hand in hand with other similar international actions, such as Arbitral Women and WWA Latam. In addition, the Projeto Diversidade is also aligned with the Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) Pledge, signed by CAM-CCBC in 2018, which seeks to stimulate diversity in arbitration.