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When it comes to creating equity in the office, are the right people putting in the work?

May 27, 2022, 6:04 PM UTC

Happy Friday.

Earlier this week, I wrote a column that shared fresh insights into the lives and concerns of DEI professionals. It generated a lot of mail, and I appreciate everyone who reached out.

Here are a couple of highlights of what’s on your minds, and a request for help.

LeNaye Willis-Lloyd, Senior Vice President and Executive Lead, Diversity Equity and Inclusion at Avantus, raised important questions about the job at hand:

  • We talk about tired DEI leaders, however, our employees of color who are often the leaders of employee resource groups and other DEI-related initiatives are also exhausted.
  • I am obsessed with metrics…how do I quantitively and qualitatively measure the success of DEI across my company?  I wonder how other practitioners collect data and measure success?
  • Our business (professional services/government consulting) [work in] a hybrid environment, but some employees work on client sites where they are unable to participate in DEI programs. How do we continue to reach them?

Francesca Weems, Senior Vice President, Director of DE&I, and Global Lead of the Race & Culture Media + Platforms Team at FleishmanHillard talked about how the massacres in Buffalo and Uvalde, and the somber commemoration of the murder of George Floyd, underscored the precariousness of the moment we’re in.  

“For me, as a DEI comms practitioner, I am reminded daily of the world feeling like it’s unraveling,” she wrote.  “What keeps me going is the belief that companies will step up to positively change the world. I am blessed to work with some of the biggest brands in the world—companies with immense power. So, every time I feel defeated, or that I cannot make a difference, I think about the fact that I am in rooms with global leaders who have the power and resources to do something.”

And finally, Elizabeth Bennett, who works for transportation and environmental planning and design firm VHB, could use some help from y’all.

“I’m a DEI professional who reports to our Chief People Officer,” she wrote. “She asked me for a style guide for using the proper/best language pertaining to diverse representation in the workplace so we can agree on the language we use. Is there one style guide that you recommend in particular?

Thank you in advance for your assistance. Please use subject line: Inclusive Style Guide.

Don’t forget, I’m reviving raceAhead’s private LinkedIn group for DEI experts, which went fallow during the pandemic. I’m hoping to use that as a resource for smart reporting and necessary solidarity going forward.

I’ll end on one personal note:

It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Wandy Felicita Ortiz, who has been a stalwart in the Fortune newsroom, editing and processing our growing portfolio of newsletters. Like for so many of you, raceAhead is personal, and she put her whole foot into it from day one. She improves everything she touches, and I will miss her—though I’m hoping to entice her back with the occasional guest essay every now and then.

Wishing you a weekend filled with micro-moments of joy.

Ellen McGirt
@ellmcgirt
Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com

This edition of raceAhead was edited for the very last time by Wandy Felicita Ortiz.

On point: Uvalde

In the aftermath of the shooting massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas questions swirl about alleged police inaction as the shooter was locked in a classroom for over an hour before a SWAT team broke in to confront him. Stories of angry parents, restrained from entering the building by police who stood outside, are fueling renewed calls for police reform and gun control. A news conference, scheduled for today, will put Texas Department of Public Safety officials back on the hot seat.

Now, overall, annual surveys from Gallup show a steady increase in the popularity for gun reform legislation since 1990. But, support for gun control spikes after a mass shooting and wanes later. This “attention-cycle” phenomenon, combined with the usual politics, is part of what makes reform so hard to push through politically, say experts.

Surveys on public opinion on policing show that people increasingly want police reforms, but also advocate for increased police budgets. That said, overall trust in the police varies widely by race and age, with younger voters and voters of color unlikely to express confidence in the police or believe that lightweight reforms will help.

The stories of the victims themselves are unimaginably horrifying, putting aside how many times we’ve imagined these stories before. (Nineteen children and two adults were murdered, and it’s only the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.) Texas Tribune has compiled ways to help here.

On background: Joy

There’s a lot of talk about self-care these days, which is a good thing in a world beset by trauma. But it can be hard to look away from troubles, especially when you, or people you love, don’t feel safe in the day-to-day places where life happens. Grab some joy when you can every day. Even micro-moments of delight can help you stay connected to yourself and others, experts say.

Let me get you started.

Here’s something that will set you right: White House photographer Pete Souza captured one of the most iconic moments of the Obama presidency when he snapped a photo of the president leaning down so a curious young visitor could check and see if the president’s hair was like his own. (It was.) Well, that little boy, Jacob Philadelphia, is graduating from high school this month and plans to study political science. President Obama caught up with him on video. Enjoy.
Pete Souza on Instagram

If you can’t get outside, bring outside in The Big Bear bald eagle cam. Smithsonian’s National Zoo cheetah cam. Chesapeake Bay Foundation live osprey cam. All the animal cams from the Mpala Research Centre in central Kenya. Monterey Bay Aquarium live otter cam. Service dog puppy cam. Allaboutbirds live Bermuda Petrel cam. Live bird cam from somebody’s backyard in Pretoria, South Africa.

Way to rock out your senior year, Kai  When Pearl Jam drummer, Matt Cameron had to miss a gig due to COVID, the band got creative and started looking for local talent. They found it in the form of Kai Neukermans, a pal of Olivia Vedder, the daughter of frontman Eddie. Nuekermans was given the green light to postpone a statistics test to audition. He killed it and joined the band at the Oakland Arena.
SF Gate

Imagine the air filled with music Pigeons are a beloved pet in China, a centuries-long cultural touchstone across the country. Owners typically tied very lightweight whistles to the birds, which created a “melancholic trill” when the birds flew. Due to urban development and <waves hands broadly> other stuff that happened, the practice nearly died out. But now, a group of artisans and cultural leaders are reviving a beloved part of the culture. “Every flock is like an orchestra,” says one craftsman.
NPR

It’s time to up your walk-on game For five-year-old Ben Sadlowski, t-ball is everything. So, choosing the right walk-on song for the last game of the season really matters. Enjoy.
Ben’s mom on TikTok

Parting words

"IN LIEU OF GAME COVERAGE AND IN COLLABORATION WITH THE TAMPA BAY RAYS, WE WILL BE USING OUR CHANNELS TO OFFER FACTS ABOUT THE IMPACTS OF GUN VIOLENCE. THE DEVASTATING EVENTS THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN UVALDE, BUFFALO AND COUNTLESS OTHER COMMUNITIES ACROSS OUR NATION ARE TRAGEDIES THAT ARE INTOLERABLE."

— The New York Yankees, on Twitter

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