Action Steps and Takeaways from ACCP's Racial Justice Dialogue Series

Image: Staff Meeting

    Earlier this fall, ACCP convened its members for a series of dialogues on racial equity. With the facilitation of Dr. Nika White, ACCP members met to discuss topics related to racial equity including systemic racism, having difficult conversations around racial justice and engaging the c-suite in initiatives.

    From these dialogues, we have outlined 6 key takeaways and action steps. We hope this guidance is helpful to corporate citizenship professionals as they work to advance racial equity within their companies.

    1. Choose Courage over Comfort to be the Voice for Racial Justice
    o It is important in social responsibility work to find our voices to raise questions, challenge assumptions and behaviors, and call people into conversations.
    What can you do? Acknowledge the discomfort, accept that we are all learning, and extend grace to others.

    2. Support BIPOC Led Organizations & BIPOC Professionals
    o We need to seek out and support organizations led by BIPOC professionals.
    What can you do? Evaluate your processes for any barriers to participation or acceptance by BIPOC-led partners and be mindful of your support in the community.

    3. Institute a Lens of Equity Across all Processes of Company
    o It is critical to align our words with action and match our statements outside the company with our work inside the company. Employees can be frustrated with what they see as quick support externally without meaningful change internally.
    What can you do? Review CSR priorities and clarify focus to align company values with community and internal work. Advocate and highlight the need for a consistent voice.

    4. Position Corporate Social Responsibility as a Partner in the Company’s Focus on Equity o Corporate citizenship professionals have knowledge and relationships that can support and benefit the company’s desire to address racial disparities. What can you do? Encourage organizational leaders to form a position on how to address equity from all departments and define how CSR aligns with the organization’s approach to equity. 5. Engage Affinity Groups/Employee Resource Groups o Corporate affinity groups have been tackling racial equity for the past decade or more and now are being more widely integrated into a broader conversation. What can you do? Take care with what the company asks of our employee resource group leaders. Be sensitive to what they are able to contribute and consider compensating them for this extra responsibility. 6. Get Leadership On-Board o Leaders are coming to this conversation after the current events in the United States have driven racial equity to the forefront. Consumers and employees are holding leadership accountable for addressing these issues and bringing corporate resources to bear. What can you do? Encourage your leaders to consider their own biases and understanding of the systemic issues in our systems. Continue the conversations around the importance of this work and the heightened expectations of key stakeholders. Enlist others to join the conversation so leaders hear different perspectives.