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I heard a long time ago that many workplaces prohibited anyone to engage in any kind of political discussion, and that they required everyone to be politically neutral. The exceptions to these of course was if you were a paid canvasser or phone banker, and you were urging people to vote for your side or cause. I got to do such a job last year, and I enjoyed it.

Now, I'm working at an on-line business with about thirty other employees, and it is minority-led. I have been wanting to share and promote a petition I made several years ago for a while now, to hopefully bring more awareness and accountability to the problem that few people probably know about. It is about an issue that affects the community the head of the company is part of, and our business does address the need to hire people from chronically underemployed or unemployed marginalised communities, so I believe my petition would most likely get support if the right people saw it and knew how to promote it.

What might be some good strategies for me to approach this cautiously?

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My gut reaction is please don't be "that" person.. people trying to use the semi-captive audience of their colleagues as targets for their pet political causes make my teeth itch. Irrespective of whether I actually agree with them on the issue or not.

That said, it can be done if you're extremely careful about keeping intrusion/disruption to a minimum. As how you'd approach this I think @JoeStrazzere pretty much covered this in the comments - ask your boss politely and be prepared to accept the (extremely likely IMO) "no" answer.

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Set the idea aside.

It has no connection to your workplace.

Best of luck with your political endeavors - outside of work life.

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I am going to answer and try to not make any assumptions about what the minority group may be, or which side of the political spectrum your views are from.

You mention that your organisation is minority-led. I'm going to assume this means that leadership in the organisation is what you would describe as being from a minority group.

You have the potential to cause offense to these people for a few reasons.

Firstly, initially, you are making the assumption that they WANT to be viewed as that minority, and not as a leader in their own right. I have met people that have bristled at the suggestion that their title deserves some sort of qualifier at the front of it.

Secondly, you are making the assumption that even if they want to be viewed as that minority, they should care about the issues that you care about due to that. As a society, we seem to place these burdens on minotiries that they should be activists of their own causes. There are slurs that we've invented historically to refer to members of a minority group that do not.

Thirdly, they may also view your involvement as hitching your political issues on their wagon, so to speak. Basically weaponising their minority status potentially against employees that may disagree with either the substance of your political views, or your methodologies.

And lastly, your intervention gives the impression that, as leaders, they don't even their own power to instigate or support what you view should be important issues for them.

Trying to start some sort of movement at work puts your leaders in a hell of a quandary, because one of their objectives as a leader is a conflict-free workplace.

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  • Good points. While I am second generation Asian American, and empathize with specific issues facing minorities, stereotypes such as Model Minority do not help. They raise harmful expectations and go counter to idea that we are individuals foremost
    – Anthony
    Mar 23 at 14:44
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Another reason to think twice - you would be inviting a vocal person with opposite political views, who has thus far restrained themselves, to stop doing so.

Just one person can quickly turn the workplace into a rhetorical battleground. (have seen this on a couple occasions). That person might not be you, but you may unintentionally give them the excuse they need.

If your office has an atmosphere of political neutrality, I would value that and try to preserve it.

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If you really need to do this, then approach people outside of the working environment (assuming you know your colleagues on a personal/social networking level - don't let the office space become a venue for political discussions.

Of course, people will discuss politics in the office, but proactively asking for people's involvement forces them into displaying their political colours.

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@GregoryCurrie gave an excellent answer (which I upvoted), so I'll refer to that answer as a best option. This is an alternative answer if you don't like his suggestion.

One thing you could try to do is, if your company is small enough (it seems to be), to quietly, discreetly, ask the CEO of the company about your initiative. Do not mention it to any coworkers, do not start sending blast emails, whatever; just mention to your CEO that you work for this charity or whatever, it does whatever work it does (don't say "it helps people like you" or anything even remotely similar to that, that's demeaning), and so on, and ask if the CEO would like you to promote your work in the company. Then do whatever they say; importantly, if they say no, then it's no and do not ever raise the subject again.

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