The Metro Atlanta Chamber announced ATL Action for Racial Equity, a multi-year, multi-step action plan designed to help address the ongoing effects of systemic racism impacting the Black community. To date, more than 150 metro Atlanta-based companies ranging in size and industry, including Atlanta Hawks, Coca-Cola, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Newell Brands, Prime Revenue, and UPS, have joined the initiative that will leverage the size, scale, and expertise of the region’s business community to advance racial equity.

The chamber is inviting all businesses across metro Atlanta to sign on to the initiative, which focuses on measurable actions across corporate policies, inclusive economic development, education, and workforce development – critical areas in addressing the region’s immobility and inequity challenges. Companies supporting the ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative range in size from small to large, include local and national organizations and represent the diversity of industries across metro Atlanta’s business ecosystem.

“A commitment to an inclusive society that rebukes systemic racism is also a commitment to an inclusive economy,” said Raphael Bostic, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the chamber’s 2022 board chair-elect. “ATL Action for Racial Equity is an essential step to actively engage our business community in the urgent and important work necessary to build wealth and close the opportunity gap for the Black community.”

Metro Atlanta has a rich legacy of activism, collaboration, inclusion, and leadership in the face of our region’s – and nation’s – most difficult tests. Whether supporting integration at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, advocating for a new inclusive state flag, or fighting for passage of hate crimes legislation, the region’s business community has made a habit of joining forces to drive change.

Today, examples like Delta’s anti-racism policy or the Atlanta Hawks’ commitment to invest millions to bolster economic empowerment and many others are expanding on that legacy. With a historic senate runoff election in January and Atlanta-based leaders in the spotlight over the past year, the world has witnessed this legacy in action. The chamber says it is time to build on that momentum with ATL Action for Racial Equity.

“In metro Atlanta, our differences are our strength. We work together to make our community and the world better. We are not perfect, but we are committed to preserving and holding up this region’s legacy, especially now,” said Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines, and the chamber’s 2021 board chair. “As we tackle economic recovery, public health, and the disproportionate impacts on our Black community, our business community must do its part. This is a moral and economic imperative as we work to grow our region’s competitiveness today and into the future.”

ATL Action for Racial Equity’s groundwork and deep dive on data reveal that a clear and surgical strategy targeting metro Atlanta’s Black population is necessary if the region is to move towards undoing the ills of systemic racism. Because a surgical approach is necessary to solve the major challenges impacting many underrepresented and under-voiced groups, the chamber may incorporate efforts targeting additional demographics into this work overtime. The launch of ATL Action for Racial Equity is one stage along this journey.

“True impact starts with a detailed action plan, commitment, metrics, and accountability. We spent the back half of 2020 working through these critical pieces and are eager to launch this important effort that addresses systemic racism, inequity, and immobility head-on,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, the president and CEO of the chamber. “Addressing these issues has been the life work of so many leaders in our community. We honor them and are stepping up to join them. Leveraging the size, scale, and know-how of Atlanta-based companies to make an impactful change is an approach that will fuel our economy and set an example for the nation.”

As a first step, ATL Action for Racial Equity is rolling out its corporate policies focus, which calls on businesses across the region to take concrete actions in the areas of people, talent pipeline, and human resources policies. Businesses can access a corporate policies playbook online as a guide to setting clear goals and implementing specific actions.  ATL Action for Racial Equity will roll out playbooks for its inclusive economic development, education, and workforce development focus areas later this year.

“Atlanta is one of the most important cities in the country right now. When we are successful in this work, however, our example and the collective success that will follow will make this city the most relevant city in the country, period,” said Ryan Wilson, the CEO and co-founder of The Gathering Spot. “It is only right that the city that is the birthplace of the modern Civil Rights Movement becomes the nation’s most equitable.”

(Photo: 11 Alive)

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