We are listening to our community members who are hurting and who are rightfully demanding that we re-examine our own biases. With this statement, we recommit to the fight to eliminate racism.
Our businesses stand together against racism, intolerance and injustice. As a business community we recognize clearly that senseless violence and loss of life cannot continue to threaten any of our community members, especially our black community members.
Affirmations and statements of solidarity have poured out from the hearts of people in our community, from individuals and from organizations we’ve worked with over the past several years. These are important steps to redoubling our efforts and making clear our intentions.
We also want to recognize that while we have prioritized inclusion and diversity in our work for our community, this is not the same work it will take to eradicate systemic racism. Our ears are open and our hearts and hands are ready for the work ahead.
Based on surveys of more than 5,000 of our residents two years ago, we know how important the work toward racial justice is to our sense of who we are as a community. Working together, we’ve proven over the years that we are a resilient community, but not all of us have shared that sense of confidence, hope and resiliency. Now more than ever before, this is the time to draw inspiration from one another and unite against all racism, injustice and inequality.
As an organization, the Chattanooga Chamber has committed immediately to hosting a business forum on racial inequities, as well as additional internal training. We’ll share more information about the forum open to the public as soon as details are finalized.
We have been striving for and will continue to seek more diverse representation on our board of directors and on the boards of our 12 Chamber Councils. In addition, we’re taking action at the national level by participating in a U.S. Chamber town hall meeting to discuss national policy work needed to address racial inequities.