We started this blog five years ago, with a sense of continuing hope that remains strong despite recent and recurring public incidents of violent bigotry. Last year we published multiple entries about The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan. The theme of these entries centered on the concept that diversity and inclusion of multiple perspectives (crossing ethnic, gender and cultural lines) makes good business sense because companies often profit from having true diversity. This fosters the attitude of do the right thing because it has a positive impact on the bottom line.
During my adult life, I have recognized the barriers to social justice and economic equality; spent time as a young woman marching (and sitting) beside friends and strangers in peaceful demonstrations whose mission was to stop segregation; battled to be taken seriously as an SDMWVBE (Small, Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Veteran Business Enterprise) entrepreneur; supported other minority and women business owners and yet … these barriers continue exist. Heather Hiles, Founder and CEO of Pathbrite says it succinctly “We need to be practicing overt inclusion. To realize the country’s full potential, and to benefit from the mosaic of perspectives and contributions in an increasingly diverse nation, we simply have to do better. We have to be intentional.”
Baby steps might be amusing in movies like “What About Bob”, but in real life it is frustrating to look back 50 years and wonder why we have not made even greater strides. We’re not the only ones. Yesterday, Starbucks and USA Today offered us all another venue for discussion by announcing their RACE TOGETHER project. The program wants “… to be a catalyst for change” and help us all to “… understand (each others) challenges” and assist in moving the people of our nation forward to greater understanding and, one assumes, acceptance.
Climbing up on our own soap box, we applaud this new initiative and we believe that members of the SDMWVBE community should support it. It only seems fair that we join them in this walk.