Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce Joins National Initiative to Address Inequality of Opportunity

Published Friday, June 19, 2020

More than 500 state and local chambers of commerce and associations have stepped up to formally join the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in its Equality of Opportunity Initiative, powering a nationwide effort to advance economic inclusion across our society through business leadership. The U.S. Chamber announced the national initiative to address inequality of opportunity, building on the organization’s work and expertise with a focus on reform in four issue areas: education, employment, entrepreneurship, and criminal justice.

Today we are announcing that the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce will join the U.S. Chamber’s Equality of Opportunity National Summit on June 25, which will explore some of the underlying challenges driving inequality of opportunity and chart a path to actionable, data-driven solutions. In addition, participating state and local partners and industry associations have committed to hosting similar dialogues and taking action in their own communities and across their sectors to address inequality of opportunity.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., the National Business League, the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC) are among the initiative’s nationwide partners.

The following announcement will be released to local media:

ROGERS, AR — The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce announced today it is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a national initiative to address inequality of opportunity.

The Chamber will join the U.S. Chamber’s national townhall event on June 25 where business and community leaders begin discussions on concrete actions that can be taken by government and the private sector to address inequality through education, employment, entrepreneurship, and criminal justice reform. As a partner on this important initiative, the Chamber will host local and industry dialogues to further the discussion.

In a statement released from the Chamber they said, “The Vision of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce is to be the center of world-class business, welcoming communities, and opportunities for all. This Vision inspires the mission work we do which includes championing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives that are sources of both competitive advantage for business and sustainable success for the future of our community. As our nation undertakes a necessary conversation about systemic racism, we will listen thoughtfully and lead solutions locally to help ensure the Black community and other people of color have greater opportunities to succeed. To realize our Vision, we must work together to remove barriers that have been present for far too long and have prevented fair treatment, access, opportunity and advancement."

Raymond Burns, President/CEO of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “The protests that we are witnessing are a rejection of racial inequality and discrimination that still characterizes life in our country for the Black community, and other people of color. The tragedy of George Floyd’s death is appalling and a clear sign that racism of any kind must end now. Many in our community are hurting, and the pain and grief that the Black community is feeling is unacceptable. Individuals have the right of equality, opportunity, and the right to not only feel safe, but to be safe.”

“The moral case for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is indisputable, and there’s overwhelming evidence that greater diversity benefits the American economy, businesses, communities and employees,” said U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark. “We are proud to partner with the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce on this initiative and work together to develop a robust plan of action.”

The work of this national initiative will build on the mission work already undertaken by the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. Burns said, “As the trusted source for growing business, activating leaders, and building community, we have a lot of work to do." He added, “We are committed to advancing DEI initiatives and continuing our work as influencers, catalysts, and conveners. We believe that through diversity, collaboration, and teamwork we encourage an inspired, open, and welcoming environment that leads to the greater good. We will convene, we will listen, we will collaborate, and we will help lead our community and region into meaningful action and lasting change providing equal justice and opportunities for all.”

The Lens Series, a program of the Chamber, focuses on providing training and strategies to help level the playing field for small-to-medium sized businesses regarding access to strategic and innovative DEI information and leadership support. The program is designed to equip small business leaders with principles of DEI to address relevant organizational challenges, apply these principles to business issues, and make their businesses more welcoming to employees and customers.

We encourage you to join us for the next virtual event The Lens Series: Unconscious Bias on June 26 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. It's a free event but registration is required.

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