AALF Executive Director Marcus Owens Asks How Corporations Can Help the Black Community on Social Media and Receives Nearly 70 Responses in 24 Hours
Marcus Owens, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), recently conducted an organic and informal engagement session over social media. He posed the following question: What would you tell the CEOs of large corporations in Minnesota about how they can best support the African American community?
The response to the Facebook post provided a significant list of recommendations for the CEOs. The post had nearly 70 engagements in less than 24 hours. Participants were predominantly African American with diverse professional backgrounds, such as small business owners, foundation executives, community organizers and educators.
Here are the suggestions, in order of popularity, with a few supporting quotes
Diversify the C-Suite and Board members: “Create opportunities…not just at entry level positions but C-suite as well. Especially the boards! And we want more than just one seat!”
Develop programs to train, mentor, and advance middle-level African American executives: “Mentor people of color who are already in their organizations. Give POC special access to understand power structures and make relationships.”
Invest in programs at the high school level including paid internships and scholarships: “Scholarship funds for various academic programs and camps that schools don’t have available funding for. Sponsor college visits. Provide summer employment opportunities.”
Increase commitment to Black-owned vendors and suppliers: “Buy/support Black vendors/diversity suppliers”.
Rewrite and implement policies and practices that hinder African Americans in the hiring process: “…there’s a reason some agencies go decades without anyone Black being hired…it starts with the job posting language and requirements that don’t match the responsibilities. Easy way to keep ‘outsiders’ from applying.”
Learn to differentiate between African Americans – Black people are not monolithic: “We come from different cultures, have a variety of needs, contributions, history, etc. They need to stop putting one particular Black community over another or investing in one and not the rest.”
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