NOTES FROM THE SECOND CHAIR

Hello Friends:

I have spent years advocating for diversity and inclusion in the business practices of this community.  At BBA we have endeavored to be advocates for minority and women owned businesses. We have spent a good deal of effort attempting to demonstrate that communities, which proactively apply diversity and inclusion in their business practices are more dynamic, economically efficient, healthy and more peaceful.

We have invested a good bit of energy trying to disambiguate many of the commonly held beliefs about diversity and inclusion. We have been careful to wordsmith our objectives such that it is understood that we are not suggesting punitive practices that serve to, “Rob Peter to pay Paul.” We understand that such a practice would secure the appreciation of Peter and the contempt of Paul. 

To artfully provide voice for such initiatives requires some level of thoughtfulness and the keen application of concepts and words. It is useful to understand business practices and business logic. Our purpose is to present the compelling business case for Supplier Diversity and Inclusion. We have used such phrasing as:

“Our goals are to expand the circle of economic opportunity; to deepen the meaning and the practices of free enterprise and to strengthen communities.” “Our overarching goal is to develop TAXPAYERS.”

The New BBA Vision: Memphis/Shelby County: A full opportunity society: A dynamic, diverse epistemic community. 

Opportunities are what we have pursued. And, when opportunities are realized, they yield the concept which is the ultimate aim of our, “Theory of Change.” That aim is EQUITY!

Attached is the EQUITY Statement of the Kresge Foundation. I so appreciate when another conveys my own thoughts in ways far better than I have. 

Have a productive day!

Here to help Memphis WIN!

Roby S. Williams
Chief Relationship Officer
Black Business Association of Memphis (BBA)
Member Chapter of the U S Black Chambers, Inc.
480 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Memphis, TN 38126

Equity Statement
The Kresge Foundation centers equity as one of its organizational values. Equity to us means that all
people — regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, zip code, health and
ability status, or any other consideration — have equal and inviolable dignity, value, and opportunity to
participate justly, fairly, and fully in all dimensions of civic and economic life . . . to prosper . . . and to
reach their full potential.

Since this country’s inception, every facet of community life has been shaped by pervasive, enduring,
corrosive, and invidious structural and institutional impediments to racial equity and racial justice. The
progress toward urban opportunity to which Kresge is dedicated cannot be accomplished without an
explicit acknowledgement that these impediments have caused communities of color to suffer systemic
and systematic underinvestment, active disenfranchisement, pernicious prejudice, and visceral
intolerance. Kresge’s mission will be realized only when those impediments have been dismantled and
pathways of equitable opportunity substituted in their place.

We commit to examining in all ways and at every opportunity how our foundation’s work can repair,
heal, and renew communities to be places where diversity thrives, where inclusion and belonging is the
norm, and where equity in all its forms is the outcome.

That commitment begins inside our own organization. We welcome difficult conversations and commit
to continuous learning about how to do better. Through critical examination of the values, implicit
biases, policies, and practices that drive both our internal culture and external engagements, we will
strive to fashion an institutional role that propels, rather than impedes, progress for the communities
we aim to serve.

We are unequivocal in our commitment to equity. We invite all to join us in it . . . hold us to it . . . help us
deepen it . . . and persevere until we achieve it.

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