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Congressional Black Caucus Issues Letter to Corporate America on DEI and Racial Equity Commitments

Today, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Steven Horsford (NV-04) and members of the Congressional Black Caucus issued an open letter to many major corporations and their associations who made pledges to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and racial equity following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvardended affirmative action on college campuses, attacks on corporate DEI initiatives have become more concerted.

The CBC’s Corporate Accountability Letter urges corporations who made DEI and racial equity pledges in 2020 to:

  1. Reaffirm their commitments to DEI and reiterate their dedication to upholding these values in their daily decision-making processes by January 31, 2024.
  2. Share updates on their 2020 commitments to address racial and economic inequality because it is no longer acceptable to deliver promises to Black people without action.
  3. Work with Members of the CBC to close the racial wealth gap.

CBC Chairman Steven Horsford (NV-04) offered the following quote:

“The attacks we are seeing on corporate DEI programs are coordinated, well-funded, and are happening beyond college campuses,” said CBC Chairman Steven Horsford. “We want to make clear to corporations that it is unacceptable to make promises to Black Americans with no action. The Congressional Black Caucus is doing our part to hold corporations accountable to their promises and to push back on attacks on DEI initiatives and programs like SBA 8(a) Business Development Program by conservative actors.”

Representative Joyce Beatty (OH-03) offered the following quote:

“The Congressional Black Caucus is calling on Corporate America to solidify their commitment to real diversity, real change, and to create more inclusive spaces for diverse populations to work, build businesses and create wealth. We will not sit idly by while white households today hold 84% of total household wealth compared to just 4% held by Black households.  Our ask is simple—reaffirm your commitment to DEI and give us a progress report on your follow-through on promises made.”

Representative Glenn Ivey (MD-04) offered the following quote:

“As legal attacks are going to continue to come in courts across the country, we want to make sure we’re standing with them and those efforts,” Ivey said. “We want to make sure that the 8(a) program and federal procurement is one way that these businesses are allowed to thrive and grow. We want to make sure that minority businesses aren’t just relying on the federal government or state governments to build businesses, but they get to do work in the private sector as well.  This letter to corporate America highlights that advocacy.”

Background:

In the wake of the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, many major U.S. corporations pledged more than $50 billion towards addressing racial inequities across the country, and committed to strengthening their company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies. Now, more than three years later, and in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling ending affirmative action on college campuses, corporate DEI initiatives have come under attack:

  • Since the Supreme Court ruling, more than a dozen conservative attorneys generals have issued letters threatening legal action for corporations’ diversity initiatives.
  • A federal judge in Tennessee struck down a provision in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development program which threatens billions in government contracting dollars for historically disadvantaged groups.

Click here to read the letter in full.

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