Doing More for Diversity - Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance's Commitment to Do More

Nov 18, 2020

Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance’s Commitment to Do More
Our nation has seen conversations and demonstrations in response to years of inequality and oppression. As an organization that strives to create a better business environment for all, we have a responsibility to look critically at our work to ensure we support Black-owned and led businesses and Black people in our community.

While the Economic Alliance has been active in diversity, inclusion and race issues, including public policy advocacy, business support programming and awareness initiatives, any honest assessment of our organization would show clearly that we have not done enough. We are committed to doing more and being better than we are. We also know that grand gestures and policy statements don’t mean anything without substantive actions, progress and results for years to come.

Our strategic plan has long called for civil and cooperative debate, and we stand with those who are peacefully protesting racism, hate and violence. We are here to be part of the solution.

Like many organizations and Americans, the Economic Alliance committed to doing more to combat racial injustice and inequalities earlier this year. We acknowledge that gestures and policy statements mean little without substantive action, and we don’t assume to have all the answers in solving years of oppression many of our fellow citizens have endured. We have committed ourselves to constantly seeking out opportunities to create a better business environment for all, particularly for those that have dealt with inequality and oppression in the past.

In September, President Trump issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13950, Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, imposing requirements for federal government contractors to review the content of their employee diversity and related training programs, and as a result many programs have come to a halt. All federal agencies and private companies receiving federal funding, like Collins Aerospace, the University of Iowa and other private entities with federal contracts, have to comply with the E.O. The Economic Alliance views the E.O. as an impediment to the positive change diversity and anti-bias training brings and to that end, we joined a coalition sign-on letter, available, calling on the Administration to withdraw the E.O. and work with the business community on an approach that will support appropriate workplace training programs, rather than creating confusion and uncertainty, and hindering the ability of employers to implement critical programs to promote diversity and combat discrimination in the workplace.

Just as the letter as currently written states, we believe the E.O. will create confusion and uncertainty, lead to non-meritorious investigations, and hinder the ability of employers to implement these programs. It is why we joined our efforts with others around the country urging the Administration to withdraw the E.O. and work with the business community to find an approach that allows for businesses to promote inclusive workplaces.

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