FACT: Nobody is born racist.
Amid a public health crisis, mass layoffs and social unrest over police use of deadly force against Black people, our country has been offered a gift – the opportunity to eradicate racism and dismantle the systems of oppression that have tainted the soul of America since birth.
It took 400 years-plus to arrive at this watershed moment, and there is no turning back. We at LeadersUp feel it is incumbent upon us, as an anti-racist, purposefully diverse organization, to set the tone and enforce higher standards of diversity, equity and inclusion that will drive meaningful, measurable and lasting change toward a racially equitable society.
FACT: Being anti-racist is not only who you are, it’s what you do.
LeadersUp acknowledges that racism has systematically denied and suppressed opportunity for people of color and other historically marginalized groups. It is our responsibility to remove any and all obstacles preventing those who are negatively impacted by racism from thriving. Therefore, we pledge to fortify our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion by operationalizing anti-racist policies and practices in every aspect of our business.
We have reinforced our commitment to the following anti-racist positions, policies and practices.
As an employer. We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to hiring diverse team members and maintaining an unbiased, racially innocuous environment that encourages and values cultural and individual expression.
In action: LeadersUp is a multicultural organization by design and employs team members who are representative of the young adults of color we serve.
Our board of directors. Our directors are responsible for leading and implementing LeadersUp’s anti-racist position and are held accountable for reflecting these values among their colleagues, in their associations and their personal lives.
In action: We established a Racial Equity Committee at the board level to provide oversight and ensure that leadership adopts and advances an anti-racist advocacy agenda. This committee will identify and select anti-racist training for the board and team members and ensure all standing committees and special task forces set goals that advance anti-racism and racial equity.
Employer partners and their supply chains. We partner with employers that are in alignment with our anti-racist values and have evolved the way they recruit, retain and advance diverse talent through anti-racist policies and practices.
In action: We work with employers and their supply chains to advance efforts that address the income inequality and wealth gap between people of color and the rest of the country. We choose not to partner with organizations that do not share our anti-racist values. However, we are open to working with employers who recognize they need help and are willing to change.
Talent development and strategic partners. To address systemic inequalities, we provide technical assistance to systems and co-design solutions, strategies and policies to advance an anti-racist and racial equity agenda.
In action: We prepare diverse young adult talent for the world of work and guide them onto established career pathways through partnerships with high schools, postsecondary institutions and community-based organizations.
Procurement. We understand that where we invest our dollars is a value statement and will continue to invest in people of color-led businesses.
In action: The majority of the companies we do business with are people of color-led companies, from the vendors in charge of logistics for our hiring fairs to our professional services consultants.
Diverse young adults. As a talent development accelerator, we upskill young adults of color from economically disadvantaged communities and connect them to vetted employers that care about them as people and will provide equal opportunity for them to advance.
In action: We intentionally refer to the young adults we serve as “talent” because they are assets not liabilities. The descriptor also emphasizes their critical role in strengthening America’s competitiveness and instills that they have tremendous value and potential.
A call to action LeadersUp has developed a through-line strategy for employers to systemically advance racial equity across every aspect of their organizations.
It starts with introspection. Evaluate your organization’s policies and practices as they relate to hiring, retention and advancement of diverse talent, vendor procurement and diversifying your supply chain.
Next is connection. Operationalize anti-racist policies and practices and publicly state your commitment to these values to cultivate relationships and gain trust with people in communities or color.
Now you can evolve. Catalyzing opportunity in an increasingly multicultural society will positively impact your bottom line and the career, economic and social mobility of individuals from historically disenfranchised communities.