JULY 2022 FRONTPAGE NOTE: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

“Diversity, Equity and Inclusion”

... the phrase has become increasingly popular in the last few years and for good reason.  Unfortunately, the use of this terminology has often merely served as a marketing slogan, rather than as evidence of true intent or deep action toward racial justice. So, what does it look like to actually ‘walk the talk’? Here at the Economy League, we work to challenge ourselves on both intentionality and process and learn as much as we can from the community around us. At our latest board meeting, DEI Committee Co-Chairs Doreen Masalta (PECO) and Malik Brown (Graduate!) engaged the room in a panel precisely on this topic. Our board and staff were fortunate to hear from Sulaiman Rahman (DiverseForce), Kathryn Epps Roberson (Hire! Philly Coalition), and Vernice Lewis (Exelon).  


At the Economy League, we’re proud to work with an incredible board of thoughtful and diverse leaders across the Philadelphia ecosystem.  But in the words of Sulaiman Rahman, “Diversity is headcount and inclusion is making sure that those heads count.” So how do we make certain that the voices of these leaders are heard? We listen. We do everything we can to ensure that the voices of our board members and the broader community are outspoken and unavoidable.  


For Harold Epps, PAGE Co-Chair and Senior Advisor to Bellevue Strategies and Diversified Search, this meeting further demonstrated the work that needs to be done. One of the initial creators of the PAGE program, Epps believes that the job is truly never finished. But he celebrates the progress we have made so far.  


“The outcomes on issues of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion do not improve without proactive and intentional conversation and results-driven action. I am encouraged by the leadership and progress of the Economy League and its very thoughtful programs and initiatives, including PAGE. I look forward to continued tangible results going forward. In addition, I am impressed with the improvement in the diversity of the Economy League staff. A shining example of intentionality.” 


Our mission remains in making sure that our efforts towards issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are felt not just within our anchor institutions, but within our very own organization. Rahman, Roberson, and Lewis made clear that this mission begins with intentionality. Without intent, we may be able to ‘check the diversity box’, but we will never experience real inclusion or equity. It is up to each one of us to make purposeful decisions in exactly the places we exist today. Now let’s get to it!