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Harvard MBA Students Call on Corporations To Do More

An African American MBA student at Harvard enters Baker Library

Harvard MBA Students Call on Corporations To Do More

Harvard Business School’s African American Student Union (AASU) is calling on corporate leaders to work towards racial justice.

In an open letter published last Friday on Juneteenth, students highlighted the abundant amount of corporate statements supporting racial injustice calling it “performative corporate activism,” The Harvard Crimson reports.

Major corporations such as Twitter, Nike, and the NFL all recognized Juneteenth as a holiday for their employees, according to USA Today.

“During this month, companies are also raising their Pride flags but failing to acknowledge the growing number of Black trans men and women who are being killed across the country,” the authors write in the letter.

LACK OF REPRESENTATION

One of the things that the authors of the letter highlighted was the lack of representation of Black Americans in leadership positions at American corporations.

“The American economic system of capitalism was built upon racial stratification and this insidious system has led us to today, wherein Black professionals hold just 3.2 percent of all executive or senior leadership roles, less than 1 percent of all Fortune 500 CEO positions, and receive 1 percent of all venture capital investment,” the letter reads.

A FOUR-PRONGED APPROACH

In the letter, students offer a four-pronged approach for business leaders to address issues of racial injustice.

The first step, according to the letter, is to “escalate” concerns surrounding racial justice by disclosing racial equity data and implementing diversity initiatives.

The second step is to “calculate” the success of such diversity initiatives.

Third, the students call on corporations to “advocate” for racial justice beyond internal statistics including appointing a task force, donating to anti-racist organizations, addressing wage disparities, and aligning lobbying efforts with racial equality and justice.

Lastly, the students call on executives of American corporations to attend “corporate racial equity office hours” with AASU members.

“America’s demographic future points inexorably towards a more diverse, multi-racial community. We urge you to wake up, step up, and lead your organizations and institutions towards that future. Let us together be a part of the solution,” the letter states.

Sources: The Harvard Crimson, USA Today