DEI Roots Run Deep in Black Heritage
“The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) movement in the United States is not new. It has its roots in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and has grown to include gender, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, and other identities,” noted Margo Edmunds and Dorcas Lind in “Glossary of Definitions and Core Concepts for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”
Hello, I’m Johnicon George Sr., owner of Icon Connects, LLC. Welcome to the Real Social Change Blog.
No qualified person should ever be excluded from any career opportunity because of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or any other defining characteristic.
When it comes to Black Americans, I believe the DEI efforts of businesses and organizations should, on purpose, zero in on qualified Black folks who suffered centuries of systemic oppression, originating with chattel slavery in this country.
In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered a commencement address at Howard University: "To Fulfill These Rights." He mentioned the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, and the voting rights bill, making it the fourth civil rights legislature.
Yet despite these victories, the former president said, “You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.” You don’t take someone who has been hobbled by chains, bring him up to the starting line of a race, and say, go for it, believing you have been entirely fair.
History tells us that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments involved slavery and protecting Black people’s rights. However, after the passage of these amendments, America became complicit when granting full citizenship rights to Black people.
To obtain these owed rights, Foundational Black Americans fought courageously for decades, with thousands making the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.
During the Black History Celebrations this month, what better time for Americans to educate themselves about the resilience, creativity, and vitality of Black people amid arduous challenges. What better time for the country to recognize the contributions and successes made by Black Americans. We have numerous examples of them right here in Solano County.
What better time for the country to acknowledge DEI Roots Run Deep in Black Heritage.
Even though President Johnson is known for allegedly using the N-word many times in the White House when referring to Black people, in his address, he outlined in detail critical issues facing the Black community. He acknowledged the causes of inequality rooted in the “devastating heritage of long years of slavery; and a century of oppression, hatred, and injustice.”
I think we can agree that DEI came about because of the blood, sweat, and tears of Black folks.
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See you next month!