Dozens of metro Atlanta companies partner to address systemic racism

More than 170 metro Atlanta companies are working together to fight systemic racism.

They're joining a multi-year, multi-step action plan to address the effects of racism in the workplace and the Black community.

ATL Action for Racial Equity is an effort spearheaded by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.

"There's a clear line between the haves and the have nots," Deisha Barnett, Chief Brand & Communications Officer, Diversity & Inclusion of the Chamber explained.

The Chamber said that a clear strategy targeting metro Atlanta’s Black population is necessary for this region to move toward undoing the challenges with systemic racism.

"In Atlanta, we are the worst city in the nation when it comes to mobility. So if you are born into poverty, you only stand a four percent chance of rising to the next academic rung," Barnett explained.

Companies involved include large corporations like the Atlanta Hawks and UPS to smaller businesses like Foundry 45 and Nebo Agency.

The four priorities in this collective effort are advancing Black talent, championing inclusive economic development, expanding access to quality education, and Investing in workforce development.

"Actions could be as simple as partnering with our Atlanta University Center and the HBCUs right here in our community to have a more robust partnership to recruit young talent, looking at pay equity, for example, and looking at it through the lens of race,"  Barnett detailed.

Steady, a mobile app that allows people to find jobs and seek financial advice, is one of the companies to sign on to.

"Our business is built off of the background of giving everyone access and transparency to create the best opportunity for themselves," Co-Owner and CEO Adam Roseman explained.

He went on to say that "so many underserved communities have been not given opportunities, have been taken advantage of by the financial services ecosystem, have not been given equal access."  

The chamber said the launch of ATL Action for Racial Equity is the first step to solving major challenges impacting many underrepresented groups.

The organization said the protests and calls for change last summer created a sense of urgency to get this done.

"In the business community, for the first time, you really heard Black employees standing up and expressing their stories and expressing their concerns in a big way and that did create some urgency," Barnett said.

The chamber said Atlanta isn’t perfect, but the city is well-positioned to lead the country in accelerating racial equity.

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