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This discussion guide is designed to get you and your colleagues learning and talking about racism. This guide forms part of a six-week Black Lives Matter Discussion Group series that we had internally at Hive Learning. We’ve published this guide so you can use it to have honest, uncomfortable and entirely necessary conversations about racism with your team, too.

Ava DuVernay’s Netflix documentary, 13TH, was released in 2016. Four years later, the murder of George Floyd sparked a reawakening for the Black Lives Matter movement and public interest in the subject of race and injustice.

Netflix tweeted that in the three week’s after George Floyd’s murder, there was a 4,665% increase in viewers seeking out 13TH. The streaming service shared the documentary on YouTube for free so that everyone can access this essential education.

🔗 Link:

Questions to think about and discuss
💡 Have you ever seen a police officer acting in a questionable manner? What did you do? What do you think stopped that crowd around George Floyd from stepping in and physically trying to stop his murder?

💡 With more people able to record the police and hold them accountable on social media, do you think real change will have to happen now?

💡 There have been growing calls to defund the police (where resources are reallocated and directed into other initiatives that might improve public safety) What are your thoughts on this?

💡 A right to a fair trial is a fundamental human right. It’s Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Why do you think people are persuaded to ‘waive’ this right and choose a plea bargain? What other violations of rights are excused in this documentary and in society as a whole?

💡 Obviously 13TH is an American documentary, but its themes are not unique to the U.S. If you don’t live in the U.S., what’s different about where you live? And what’s the same? Do you think as a society we focus enough on racism?

💡 As more prisons become farmed out to private companies (for example, G4S in the UK etc) will it become profitable to put more people in prison for longer? And how do you think this will affect Black people in the British prison system?

One week before
✅ Send out an email and calendar invitation including the link and discussion questions.

One day before
✅ Send a reminder to everyone to watch the key resource before the session. Note down some of your own thoughts which you can share to prompt others to do the same.

On the day

  1. Welcome everyone and introduce the key resource and discussion topic, which is the documentary 13TH and the subject of race and mass incarceration. (3 mins)
  2. Ask everyone for their initial thoughts from watching the film. What resonated with them most? (5 mins)
  3. Work through the discussion questions. Be mindful of the time and nudge the conversation on to the next topic when someone stops speaking. If people need more encouragement to speak, start by sharing your thoughts. (50 mins)
  4. Wrap up by thanking everyone for attending and for their input. Let everyone know that they are welcome to continue the conversation in your company’s social channels and to share feedback on the discussion with you. (3 mins)

✅ Send a follow-up email to thank participants and to re-share the resource and questions with anyone who couldn’t attend.

Want to learn more? Listen to author of The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander’s TEDx Columbus talk, The future of race in America and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson’s TED Talk, We need to talk about an injustice.

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