Press Releases

CBC Urges Private Sector to "Do Better" on Diversity

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Washington, May 16, 2017 | comments

Today, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – led by Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) – sent a letter to the private sector urging them to “do better” when it comes to board, C-suite, government affairs, trade association, and supplier diversity. The letter was sent to board chairs and CEOs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, Investment Company Institute, and the Organization for International Investment and includes a request for a meeting with these organizations.

In addition to Richmond, Lee, and Butterfield, the letter was signed by 44 other CBC members. Lee and Butterfield are co-chairs of the CBC Diversity Taskforce.

“Black Americans have just as much business acumen, strategic management capabilities, and small business supply expertise as any other American demographic. We strongly encourage your members to have conversations about the items we discuss herein and we encourage the asset managers that invest in the firms run by your members to push firms’ leadership to act on these priorities in their capacity as owners of equity in these firms. We know that your stakeholders prefer to develop industry solutions as opposed to receiving direction from legislative and regulatory avenues. However, we have seen little demonstrable progress with the status quo… We need to see a true commitment to making the leadership of America’s most successful firms look more like America. Do better,” the members wrote.

In addition to addressing the lack of diversity at corporations, the letter addresses the same issue at advocacy organizations. There is growing concern in the advocacy community that organizations are less committed to diversity under the Trump Administration because leadership at the White House and executive branch agencies is less diverse than it was under the Obama Administration.  

“We have been made aware of an alarming number of dismissals of Black policy advocates here in Washington, DC, in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election. It appears as if Corporate America has decided that the previous diverse Administration needed diverse advocates to speak to, but in light of a new set of far less diverse personnel, the motivation to diversify seems to have eroded. It is important to have a diverse advocacy corps in order to add perspective to the various policy debates that are underway in the Capitol,” the members wrote. 

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