On Diversity Issues

Shumate, With League, To Work With Chamber

Former State Sen. Jabar Shumate (Dem., Tulsa) is heading an organization with the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City that will work with the Oklahoma City Chamber on diversity issues.

“This is a partnership aimed at creating a stronger dialogue with the business community concerning issues of social justice and anti-racism,” a statement from the Urban League said.

The partners plan to work together on five priorities:

  • Initiating a business community conversation about anti-racism;
  • Establishing a diversity council and business community working group;
  • Creating leadership and mentoring programs;
  • Developing an annual research publication that tracks and reports on diversity and economic equality in Oklahoma City; and
  • Launching an ongoing initiative to increase minority supplier networks and employment.

Work will begin immediately on the first two priorities and planning on the development of the final three.

“Our leadership understands the importance of a diverse and inclusive community – and is anxious to be an effective part of the anti-racism movement,” explained Roy Williams, president of the chamber.

“We could not have a better partner in this work than the Urban League, as they have decades of experience in this work, and shared goals around workforce development, criminal justice reform, and more.”

“The Urban League is thrilled to be working with the Oklahoma City Chamber to explore and expand opportunities for the business community to help our city become more inclusive,” said Dr. Valerie Thompson, president of the Urban League.

“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become the catalyst for economic development.”

The groups plan to begin a series of online workshops in late October.

The new partnership is the first collaboration developed by the Urban League’s Community Convening and Social Justice Department, headed by Mr. Shumate.

The department focuses on issues related to voter education and mobilization, criminal justice reform and police reform.

He is vice president of community convening and social justice for the league.

More information will be available online at okcchamber.com/diversity.

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