A group of prominent Black executives is urging the nation's CEOs to continue investing in diversity, despite the recent Supreme Court ruling that put an end to affirmative action.
In an open letter to American CEOs, the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), a global organization of more than 800 Black executives, told companies that the SCOTUS decision should not set back their efforts to diversify their workplaces.
“While the recent SCOTUS ruling overturned affirmative action in higher education, it does not impede you from continuing to exert successful practices that serve and advance your efforts today,” they wrote. “The common thread that we can all build on is that we are all Americans who want to create the best future for our country. The research clearly shows that when we establish more inclusive and diverse environments, our corporate structures and communities thrive and are more economically sound.”
Affirmative action has been debated since it was first introduced in 1978, when the SCOTUS of the time ruled that diversity brought "educational benefits," and that there is "governmental interest" in considering race when dealing with college admissions. Decades of research in social sciences support this consensus among universities in the U.S.
In their letter, the ELC said that "it is critical that [companies] continue to use DEI as it was intended, as a mechanism for creating an inclusive culture."
“Initiatives can include providing economic opportunity by expanding your recruiting efforts, connecting all leaders to your culture through employee resource groups, and providing interview training to reduce biases," they wrote. "In doing so, you can serve and contribute to the success of your organization.”
They added: “We must seek to abolish these negative narratives that are intended to set us back and instead embrace the diversity of our country so that everyone wins. Now is not the time to retreat, but to boldly stand as we advance equitable opportunities for all and continue to build a strong and flourishing economy.”