Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce begins 2021 Diversity and Inclusion series

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:17 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On January 26th, a report from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, titled “The Business Case for Racial Equity,” served as the topic for a weekly presentation to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.

Past Fairbanks Chamber Board Chair Sabrina Binkley introduced the presenters, the report’s author, Ani Turner and foundation representative Cynthia Muller, saying, “The events we all witnessed in Alaska and beyond last year provided an opportunity for us to bring awareness to this important topic to the forefront of our community education and advocacy work.”

Turner and Muller discussed the advantages to businesses of adopting an equitable lens in their practices.

Muller said, “We’re talking about how, systematically, unfortunately, our society and our systems have inadvertently and sometimes intentionally, left communities out, in a couple of different ways.”

According to Turner, the report was first published in 2013, and updated in 2018. She explained that it represents part of a larger body of work on the subject. “This is a matter of social justice, and the right thing to do, but there is also a very strong case for the private sector, for the business community, and for economic growth, to pay attention to racial equity and to advancing equity in our society,” she said.

Turner discussed what she described as significant and persistent differences between opportunities and life outcomes for different racial groups in the U.S., explaining, “If you were to close disparities and close this earnings gap and look across the population of the United States, what you would gain in earnings amounts to a trillion dollars.”

The report calculated that by 2050, more than half of workers and consumers in the U.S. will be people of color.

Among ways to promote equity in one’s community, Muller discussed recruitment of diverse employees and providing opportunities for remote work.

This lecture represents the first in the Fairbanks Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion series, which will be continued on the fourth or fifth Tuesday of each month through the end of 2021.

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