A statement from the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
We, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, are responsible for moving our region – Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties — into the to 20% of metro areas for minority income equality through intentional, actionable, and measurable tactics.
While some are just now starting to wake up to the realities of systemic racism, it is what many of us on our Committee have experienced personally. It is because of this experience and bearing witness to the disparities across our region as it relates to income levels, representation among leadership (both community and company), and business ownership, that we formed this Committee, rooting our regional economic development strategy in equity and inclusion.
What We Are Doing.
Supporting Regional Employers to Foster More Inclusive Environments.
We are providing resources – training, articles, and best practices – to regional employers as they work to readjust their historical priorities and foster diverse cultures that drive innovation. While nearly 20% of the regional workforce is comprised of minorities, just 6% of leadership positions are held by minorities. We will be rolling out a comprehensive digital solution by the end of 2020.
Training and Providing Access to Capital for Minority and Women Business Owners.
We created HustleSBE in response to the gap in our region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem as it relates to minority owned businesses. In our region, 13% of businesses are minority-owned. We allocated over $10,000 to graduates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year and are committed to the same for the next HustleSBE cohort launching later this month.
We are amplifying Black voices and experiences. We are telling stories, featuring minority and women owned businesses, as well as programs and opportunities that directly benefit underrepresented individuals.
What You Can Do.
Listen to the voices of your Black colleagues, your Black friends, and your Black leaders. Listen to People of Color. While it may not be your lived experience, it is theirs and it matters.
Reading is one of the most powerful weapons against injustice. Brain Lair Books, a locally based inclusive book provider and HustleSBE graduate, has compiled this list.
Create systemic and culture change in your company, your community and on your team.
In solidarity. Black Lives Matter.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee
South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership