• Put a finger up if your organization made a diversity pledge in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020.
  • Put a finger up if your organization has made substantial progress on that pledge.

If I could see you right now, I know what I would be looking at—a sea of white people, each with only one finger up and looking anywhere but at me.

Because I believe you have the grace to be uncomfortable, I want to be honest and say that all the talk about “Black Lives Matter” and diversity, equity, and inclusion was just that—talk. Two years later, studies have shown that very little has changed for your Black colleagues.

That lack of action is unacceptable—and it calls into question the integrity of every organization that promised to do something meaningful to improve the workplace for Black people and didn’t.

Black Women Thriving Research supports that view. As a part of our research, we asked Black women how their organizations could make things better for them, and the overwhelming refrain was, “Just do what you already promised to do!”

Integrity—keeping your word and following through on the promises you make—may feel like an old-fashioned virtue, but it is foundational to an inclusive workplace and economic success. If your organization wants to prosper in the present and the future, treating employees with integrity is the place to start. Keeping your promises is critical.

That’s what integrity and accountability demand.

Questions for Leadership and Chief Diversity Officers or Working Groups: 

  • What promises have you made in the last two years about increasing/improving the work lives of BIPOC women?  Gender expansive folks?
  • Follow up: What can you say that you have completed?