A coalition of local companies and civic groups have signed a pledge “to hold their organizations accountable for driving measurable progress in advancing racial equity for African Americans in Central Indiana,” organizers announced Thursday morning.
By signing onto the Indy Racial Equity Pledge, the organizations commit to “using their resources and influences to accelerate progress on racial equity in four areas: health, prosperity, education and criminal justice.”
The pledge was established by Eli Lilly and Co., Anthem Inc., Citizens Energy Group, Cummins Inc., IU Health, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Roche Diagnostics, Salesforce and the Business Equity for Indy Committee, a special committee of corporate leaders formed by the Indy Chamber and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.
The commitments are posted to a website where progress will be tracked and reported. Commitments can include financial investments, community initiatives, in-kind donations, advocacy, volunteerism and internal diversity and inclusion efforts.
The pledge reads as follows: “We pledge to take meaningful action to address the issues of racial equity and justice in central Indiana. As leaders in this community, we must hold one another accountable for creating long- and short-term change for African Americans.”
Each business and organization that joins the pledge will also make its own commitments. Those commitments can include financial investments, community initiatives, in-kind donations, advocacy, volunteerism and internal diversity and inclusion efforts.
Those commitments will be posted to a website so the public can track their progress.
Tiffany Benjamin, senior director of corporate responsibility for Eli Lilly and Co., told IBJ the idea for the pledge followed months of discussion about how the business community can come together to “give everybody a shot.”
“I think what we’ve seen throughout this year is there’s just been a real understanding that the time is now,” she said. “This is a critical moment in time for change.”
Other businesses and organizations are invited to join the pledge and can do so by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re at a critical inflection point,” Jeffrey Harrison, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group and chair of the Business Equity for Indy Committee, said in written comments. “By creating the Indy Racial Equity Pledge, we’re committing to action and accountability. It’s critical that leading organizations across central Indiana actively join the fight for racial equity, using their voice, influence and resources to create the change we want to see within our own organizations and within our communities.”
In just one example, Citizens Energy Group is pledging to facilitate diversity and inclusion in three areas: with its workforce, with its business partners and in the communities it serves.
It pledges to recruit and retain a workforce that reflects the diverse communities it serves, to enhance its partnerships with minority and women-owned businesses and to continue to improve quality of life in diverse Indianapolis neighborhoods by donating in-kind services and materials to Indy Parks to refurbish neighborhood parks.