KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - The death of George Floyd, which has a police officer facing a murder charge, started protests on a scale we haven’t seen since the 1960’s civil rights movement. Now, community activists say it’s time for corporate America to make some changes.
“We know how to advocate and ask for what we do in our nine to five, but when it comes to social injustice and community implementation, we’re at a loss for words. Like, that’s the most important part, right?” community innovator Kiona Sinks said. “Diversity, equity and inclusion has to be something that people see as an opportunity not to just do but see as an opportunity in our communities to make people better, to make lives better in the communities we say we serve.”
Sinks says businesses, no matter their size, should treat conversations and exercises about diversity and inclusion like walking your dog, with enthusiasm and often.
“So we can just keep doing those things and not getting complacent, not getting comfortable. And, working at it,” Sinks said.
Sinks says it’s a good idea to keep someone on retainer to cultivate authentic conversations when something pops up, instead of waiting.
“The larger Black America, as we rise our voice, the bigger that white corporations and other people in society see that as, not a threat necessarily, but as we’re important,” Sinks said.
Samira Farah was a sales associate at Made in Kansas City when she went to the owners and said they should take a stand on social issues. She’s now the company’s inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness coordinator.
“Us as a small, local business that is evolving as each day goes by, bringing in more customers, we’re just showing that Kansas City has so much to offer in terms of celebrating diversity and celebrating inclusivity within this small but big city,” Farah said. “We can influence to celebrate a more diverse business in what we’re selling and who we’re selling it to, or who our customer base is.”
Diversity and inclusion experts KCTV5 News talked to say as a company starts to grow, it’s employees should grow with them.
“No more just talking about it. No more just putting a statement out there. This is an everyday walk of life,” Sinks said. “This is all that’s going on right now, so when are we going to deal with it if we are not going to deal with it right now.”
Sinks says there’s an urgency for growth, so we don’t fall back into complacency.