February is Black History Month in the United States. It is a time to celebrate Black culture, uplift Black voices, and acknowledge the contributions Black people have made and continue to make to our society. It is also a time to reflect on the tribulations Black people have faced at the hands of a country purportedly built on equality and justice for all.
In the midst of a contentious election, a global pandemic, and seemingly never-ending “unprecedented events,” one might think that the issue of race relations would take a backseat. But racial equity has proven to be an inevitable topic, one that we must face head-on in order to build a more just society.
EQUITY AS A VERB
In 2020, the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others prompted many Americans to come to terms with the dire state of race relations in our country. This Black History Month, companies and organizations are looking for the best way to publicly acknowledge Black culture and the broader need for racial diversity in the workplace. It is no secret that “equity” has become a buzzword and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (or “DEI,” for short) has become an umbrella term called upon by businesses to cover their bases, usually for public relations purposes. But what does equity really mean?
According to Merriam-Webster, equity is “justice according to natural law or right,” and/or “freedom from bias or favoritism.” The dictionary labels equity as a noun, but what if we began to think of equity as a verb?
Kai D. Wright, public intellectual and thought leader, believes that we are at “an inflection point in history,” when people are recognizing an “urgent need for change.” What we need, then, to promote true equity is “the hard work of depoliticizing conversations about race at work, applying systems-based thinking and committing to move from empathetic and active listening to swift and meaningful action.”
This means looking beyond employee diversity quotas and putting in the work to ensure that diverse candidates are met with an equitable workspace. It means having uncomfortable conversations, not for conversations’-sake, but for the purpose of putting action behind words. This month - and every month - it means giving Black people a platform so that allies can do the work to support them.
Equity is more than a “buzzword,” more than one-off conversations where the main players are biting their tongues for the sake of respectability and professionalism. Equity is a verb, a constant call to action to eradicate bias, discrimination, and inequality.
RACIAL EQUITY SIGNATURE DINNER
AND THE EQUITY SERIES
We at Civic Dinners are committed not only to talking about equity, but living it. In honor of Black History Month, our team will be hosting our monthly Signature Dinner on Racial Equity. Join us at the (virtual) table this Thursday, February 11th at 7 p.m. EST by signing up for this event.
In addition to racial equity, our new Equity Series explores topics such as food, health, gender, voting rights, policing, housing, education, and economics. These consciously crafted discussions are intended to catalyze you and your community to act to rectify inequities, in order to build a more inclusive world.
Challenge yourself and those around you to think beyond numbers and quotas, and to explore and work towards equity as a verb. Contact our Sales Team to bring the Equity Series to your business or organization.