SII Statement On Racial Injustice

By Dr. Meeta Kothare and Madison Gove

Innovators,

As the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, and our nation reckons with its long history of systemic racism, we at the SII are reflecting on our mission and what we can do to serve it better. We realize that we have to do more. Our mission requires us to respond with a greater focus on achieving a just and equitable society that lives in a healthy relationship with our planet.

The numbers speak for themselves. For instance, the number of operating Black-owned businesses declined by 41% between February 2020 and April 2020. Operating white-owned businesses declined by 17%.[1] The pandemic’s closures disproportionately hit minority workers, with 15.6% of Blacks unemployed and 14.5% of Latinos unemployed in June 2020 compared to 10.8% of Whites.[2] Less well known is the fact the environmental inequality is closely related to socioeconomic inequality. For instance, one study found that “whites experience about 17 percent less air pollution than they produce, through consumption, while blacks and Hispanics bear 56 and 63 percent more air pollution, respectively, than they cause by their consumption.”[3] Another found that Blacks are more likely to live in a food desert than their white counterparts.[4]

We at the SII will continue to inform, educate, and learn from our students, colleagues, and partners. Words and reflections are not enough. We hope that the companies that have stepped forward during these crises will sustain their efforts and continue to push for change once the news cycle has passed, and that all businesses will pursue sustainability in all its forms.

A generation of change can start now.

Academics must change if we are to prepare our future business leaders to acknowledge and address racism in every sector. Therefore, the SII team pledges to:

  1. Work on our biases and limitations,

We encourage you to commit to doing your part to uproot our broken system. To start, you can:

  1. Learn about the past, and stay informed about the present. Here is a list of resources we like. If you are a student, seek out classes with a focus on racial justice, and take advantage of learning opportunities like speakers and competitions.

In solidarity,
The SII Team

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