Call for Submissions: Your Untold Stories on Being Underrepresented in the Workplace—raceAhead

October 16, 2019, 6:41 PM UTC

This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.

It’s hard to get heard sometimes.

If your voice has been missing from important workplace conversations, then there is a particular imperative—a necessity—in adding it. The raceAhead audience consists of leaders in various fields—who are also experts at being underrepresented. And that particular experience of being marginalized needs to become part of the broader discussion—it compels readers to consider new viewpoints, fosters conversation, and serves the broader community. 

With that in mind, raceAhead would like to invite guest essay submissions, which we plan to publish on a semi-regular schedule. We’re looking for 600-to 750word essays that help break down barriers, offer actionable insight into how to embrace and promote diversity, and that provide a platform to better understand people who are underrepresented at work.

As Ellen puts it: These essays should “contribute to a deeper understanding of a marginalized group and/or a more inclusive workplace.”

As a commentary editor for Fortune, I’ve noticed there’s a wide understanding of what an op-ed should be like, and raceAhead would like to help anyone who is looking to publish their opinions across editorial platforms increase their odds of acceptance.

So here are few tips to getting your opinion published:

  • Let’s start with your argument. Writers, while you may have strong opinions on various topics, pick one, and hone the piece around it. Opinion pieces are typically short, so it’s important to be clear, focused, and pointed. (As this helpful guide from Duke University puts it, “Be satisfied with making a single point clearly and persuasively.”) It’s not just about writing concise sentences, avoiding jargon, using the active voice—every paragraph should relate directly to your core argument. You should be able to summarize the argument in a few lines. If you struggle to, that’s usually an indication of an unfocused argument. (Here are some good starting questions, courtesy of the American Independent Business Alliance.) 
  • The reader should finish the piece with a clear idea of where you stand on a specific issue. That said, it’s also important to place that issue within a larger context. The reader should understand why, at this particular moment in time, the argument you are making matters. Consider how, as this New York Times op-ed tip sheet highlights, your piece will “advance the discussion.” 
  • And while portraying a strong opinion is at the core—it can’t be just your opinion. Include research that backs up your claims (and, please, don’t forget to source!), consider opposing viewpoints, add in quotes from authoritative or noteworthy leaders on the subject. The argument should make a logical case (and here are some questions offered by Indivisible that can help with that). 
  • It’s important to understand who the target audience is. Different publications accept different op-ed styles. Some require a recent news peg, others require a certain angle (like a business angle for business-oriented publications), and yet others prefer subheads. And within that publication’s readership, who exactly are you trying to reach? When offering recommendations, be specific as to who they are for. 
  • And, while doing your research for publications to place your opinion, don’t overlook the new media platforms (like LinkedIn or Medium). Consider reaching out to local newspapers as well—speaking to a direct community can have considerable impact. 

So, is there something you think is important to say to the raceAhead audience? 

Send it our way.

On Point

In the years after ‘Gamergate’ Not much has changed for minorities and women in the gaming industry. Since 2015, the demographics of the industry (the majority are both white and male) have remained largely unchanged. And the lack of diversity is often reflected in mainstream games. Read through this New York Times feature of the experiences of underrepresented developers and how, “burned out of mainstream gaming,” they have turned to other platforms to get their games (that address often-overlooked issues) to players.
New York Times

Baseball’s ‘glass ceiling’ has been broken By Raquel Ferreira, who was named senior vice president of the Boston Red Sox. She’s the child of Cape Verde immigrants, and their experience (and struggles) has largely informed not just her work ethic, but her management style. Per Undefeated: “It’s no coincidence that Ferreira interacts so well with young players and foreign-born players.”She played a key role in “humanizing” how baseball players are treated, says Ben Cherington, former Red Sox general manager. Read more for how Ferreira went from hired with no prior baseball experience to breaking barriers in the sport.

On Background

The capital’s persisting housing gap In an effort to correct the history of racist housing policies in Washington, D.C., the city governor plans to build more public housing in affluent neighborhoods. The placement of affordable housing in the capitol “reflects a legacy of racially discriminatory and exclusionary policies enacted in the past century, and it cannot be corrected overnight,” says the Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the report outlining the plans. Considering most recent developments have been geared towards young professionals, there’s been increased displacement of lower-income tenants who have been priced out of the smaller, expensive rentals. D.C. Mayor Muriel Browser, however, plans to make addressing housing a key issue—but it’s likely to face “several obstacles.”
Washington Post

A few tips for coworkers looking to help create an office safe space There are actionable steps businesses—and especially coworkers—can take to create a “more welcoming” environment for all gender identities, and NPR’s Yuki Noguchi has five to offer. At a minimum, do some research yourself, she says. While (polite) questions are okay, don’t expect colleagues to “educate you.” Consider checking first before launching into a question—and respect the answer. If a person has a preferred pronoun, use it. And be an ally by asking employers to offer gender-neutral bathrooms. Remind employers that, after all, bathrooms can easily be “relabel[ed].”


“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

—Dr. Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet