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Last week’s flood of CEO statements on racial justice marked a dramatic change in CEO behavior from the past. But still, at the end of the day, the statements were just words, prompting one critic to tell the New York Times this weekend: “It’s complete B.S. It’s performative.”
So what can companies do to show they mean what they say? FSG managing director Mark Kramer, who partners with Fortune on our Change the World list, offered ten ways companies can put their racial-equity talk into action–including a commitment to pay-equity, a living wage, adequate health care, and making election day a paid holiday so everyone can vote. His suggestions are worth reading here.
I think the bigger issue here is one raised by Business Roundtable Chairman Doug McMillon in his statement establishing a special committee to advance “racial equality and justice solutions.” He put Education and Workforce at the top of the group’s list of priorities. Fixing our broken education system, of course, is primarily a governmental responsibility. But creating new training programs that provide pathways to good jobs for people of color is something businesses can and should do. A lot of good work has been done in this area over the last five years, but the time has come to scale those efforts. Watch that space to see if last week’s talk turns into lasting action.
Separately, Friday’s encouraging employment report has rekindled the debate over what shape the recovery might take. Fortune’s Anne Srader explores the possibilities–U, check mark, Nike swoosh, square root symbol, etc.–here. Spoiler alert: it won’t be a V.
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Many companies are speaking out against racial injustices right now. But how do they fare in their own workplaces? Black employees in the corporate world, we want to hear from you: Please submit your anonymous thoughts and anecdotes here.