Yusuf George Shares How Corporate Leaders Can Move from Racial Equity Commitments to Action
We’ve now marked more than a year since the murder of George Floyd, a devastating event that has since sparked a national reckoning with systemic racism in America and an outpouring of support for communities of color as companies large and small made commitments to Black Lives Matter. 95% of Black Americans agree it is important for companies to promote racial equity in the workplace, but 80% said companies have more work to do — showing that talk of commitment is not enough.
During this discussion from SPECTRUM21, Yusuf George, the Managing Director of Corporate Engagement at JUST Capital discussed why data and transparency are critical to advancing racial equity in corporate America, and what companies can do to drive real change for their workers and communities of color today.
“What’s clear a year out is that there is still so much work to be done,” he said. “At this moment, we and other stakeholders are asking the question: Are companies walking the talk and really driving change that’s needed to build a more equitable economy for Black and brown Americans?”
George shared several specific actions companies can take to move beyond simple commitments and advance racial equity.
“It’s one thing for corporate leaders to say they support their Black and brown employees,” he said. “But it’s another for companies to prioritize pay equity, to create quantitative diversity targets, to invest in local schools and community organizations, to provide clear development programs and build diverse boards — and more so to be transparent about their efforts and progress in doing so. All of these steps are ones that address the systemic inequities that have disadvantaged communities of color for all of history.”
After these broad corporate commitments in 2020, JUST Capital evaluated America’s 100 largest employers across six areas: anti-discrimination policies, pay equity, racial/ethnic diversity data, education and training programs, response to mass incarceration, and community investments.
“They are very likely to disclose baseline DEI policies — like equal opportunity or anti-harassment,” George said. “But when it comes to taking concrete actions or showing accountability toward progress, there are far fewer companies that are being transparent.”
George emphasized that transparency around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion metrics will help both society at large and those corporate leaders who are earnestly trying to make progress.
“Without transparency and standardized disclosure, it’s incredibly difficult to assess how racial equity is being prioritized in corporate America,” he said. “It’s also difficult for corporate leaders to know what steps to take and to understand that their actions build impact within their communities, within their companies, and within society more broadly.”
Corporate racial equity work is incredibly important and can have dramatic impacts on people’s everyday lives.
“Be it anti-discrimination policies or pay equity, when companies move from commitment to action, they drive real change for their employees and the communities of color,” George said.
Watch the full session above.