By Sharon Aron Baron
Since George Floyd’s death and subsequent protests against racism and police brutality, Black people have reported incidents of alleged hate crimes motivated by bias.
Since then, the Coral Springs Coconut Creek Regional Chamber of Commerce elected to take on a bigger role in educating the local business community about diversity, equity, and inclusion with a two-hour virtual summit.
On February 26, they held its first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit. Moderated by Coral Springs Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons, who is the first African-American commissioner in Coral Springs’ history, and the keynote speaker was Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson, former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who served under 43rd US President George W. Bush.
Guest panelists for the event included Chevara Orrin of Collective Concepts LLC, Rene Cantu of Equality Florida, Carla Harris of The People Institute, and Neil Wilcox and Leslie Pearce of Fiserv. Each panelist delivered a talk on topics such as subtle discrimination, how diversity makes your business more profitable, building an inclusive organizational culture, and more.
“From a personal perspective, I realized that many of us are unaware of subtle discrimination in the workforce or how inclusivity really can make a business more innovative and profitable,” said Brief. “I believe education is the key to increasing equity in our community and our D.E.I [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] task force wants the chamber to be a leader in this effort.”
Throughout the event, guests were divided into breakout rooms within Zoom to discuss the prompted topics, such as “How can you ensure your workplace is inclusive?” with a post-breakout discussion held shortly thereafter with all attendees to provide feedback on what they discussed.
The event closed with an open forum Q & A for the guests to engage with all panelists and closed with a message from Vice Mayor Simmons that stated that Black History, although only highlighted in February, is our shared American history and should be discussed year-round and that an inclusive workplace is beneficial to all.
Presented Fiserv with support from the City of Coconut Creek, Baptist Health, Al Hendrickson Toyota, and Kelley Kronenberg P.A., the summit highlighted the many different ways to build an inclusive business culture in Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and beyond.
As a follow-up to the event, the Chamber plans to host additional Diversity-centered initiatives that promote inclusion and equity through 2021 and beyond.
For those interested in either participating or sponsoring a Diversity event, contact the Chamber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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