Listening, Taking Action on Racial Justice, Equity

The horrific killing of George Floyd ignited nationwide protests to end police brutality against Black Americans, but it has also sparked a much larger and deeper movement to root out, once and for all, the systemic and institutional enablers of racial injustice, discrimination and hatred. The Bay Area Council holds racial equity, diversity and inclusion among our core values. We immediately condemned Floyd’s killing, and we are now working across our entire organization and with all our members and partners to strengthen our commitment to racial equity and justice.

“We can and must do more to end racial injustice and discrimination in this country,” said Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman. “We cannot let George Floyd’s death be in vain. We must not simply make progress in ending racial injustice, discrimination and inequity, but end it for good.”

Here are some of the things we are doing:

We recast our recent Pacific Summit to address directly the issues of racial justice. We heard from the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose on how their communities have been affected by racism, the protests filling their streets and the actions they were planning. Kaiser Permanente CEO Greg Adams also shared his experiences with racial inequity and its impacts on community health, and the leaders of the Bay Area’s major professional sports franchises talked about the role of sports in advancing racial equity.  In the story below you can click on the various elements of the Pacific Summit to view them.

We are convening regular discussions on the issues of race, including recent and upcoming webinars examining the wide-ranging causes and impacts of racial injustice and discrimination in business and throughout our communities and the public institutions serving them. As well, how unconscious bias blinds us to the subtle yet powerful impacts of racism at an individual level.  Please participate!

We are preparing a survey of our members to better understand how they are confronting the systemic and institutional causes of racism, and asking for actionable ideas that we can incorporate into our policy work.

This week, the Council convened top diversity leaders from our member companies to reflect on racism and on the racial and civil unrest stemming from the death of George Floyd and discuss ways the Council can strengthen its commitment to racial equity in the region. The Chief Diversity Officer Subcommittee of our Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Committee discussed the importance of policy change, leveraging partnerships with organizations that are already engaged in racial justice work and the need for further growth and learning among leadership teams. The Committee acknowledged that the discussion marks only the beginning of a lengthier process to understand these issues, listen to input from a variety of leaders and develop a clear and actionable path forward focused on solutions and results.  Bay Area Council members are encouraged to have their CDO’s participate, please contact Leslie Alfaro for information (contact info).

Our upcoming Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings (July 9th) will focus on the issues of racial equity and justice and how the Bay Area Council and our region can be most effective in bringing about change.

The Council last week launched a resource guide of Bay Area and national organizations that are working to combat racial injustice and discrimination and we are encouraging our more than 350 member companies to provide financial support. We highlighted the list to the more than 400 business and community leaders that attended our Pacific Summit on June 5. And we continue to update and expand the list. See the list of organizations working for racial justice. 

We are also continuing to promote racial equity directly and indirectly through our ongoing policy work, including advocating for vastly improved housing opportunities, addressing homelessness, providing better and more equitable transit solutions, increasing investment in quality early childhood education, better access to affordable healthcare and providing communities of color greater access to employment opportunities, among other policy work.  We’re reviewing all of our policy work to make sure our approaches truly align with the needs of our most underserved communities. 

This is only the beginning of the conversation and we will keep you updated on the continuing work the Council is doing. To engage in the Council’s racial equity, diversity and inclusion work, please contact Policy Associate Leslie Alfaro or Director of Organizational Strategy Rachele Trigueros.

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