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Open Letter from IndyHub President and Board Chair

Posted by: IndyHub
Posted: June 15, 2020
Categories: IndyHub

Over the course of the last few weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have come together in our city and across the country, united in rightful calls for police accountability and in pursuit of lasting racial and social justice.

At IndyHub, we stand with our Black community in these calls for change that confront not only these most recent acts of violence but the generations of incrementalism and inaction that have perpetuated systemic racism and oppression in this country.

IndyHub’s Hannah Thomas penned a piece last week that spoke to this, challenging our network with a simple yet profound question: “Where will you be?” Will we still be pursuing change and equity in the weeks and months and years to come, when the attention of media and policy makers has shifted? Or will we have simply reacted for a moment to yet another atrocity and allowed this momentum to be lost?

For IndyHub, the IndyHub Foundation, our Board of Directors, and our staff, the answer to Hannah’s question is this: we are permanently committed to this work. We will not allow this to be a fleeting moment. We will continue to pursue long-term and structural change within our city.

We must be intentional and explicit in our efforts to create opportunities, experiences and pathways to leadership for those who are often left behind. If we truly endeavor to be the most welcoming and empowering city in America for young leaders, it requires us to evaluate our own practices, continue confronting our own biases and make a plan to do far, far better. To that end, IndyHub and the IndyHub Foundation are immediately committing to the following actions:

Supporting Black-owned Businesses

  • We will support Black-owned businesses through specific engagement goals as it relates to our outreach and contracts with venues and vendors.
  • We will elevate and amplify Black emerging leaders, creatives and entrepreneurs  through social media, blogs, panel discussions, community leadership opportunities and spotlights.

Intentionally Engaging Our Community

  • We will support Indy’s Black 20- and 30-somethings, across all sectors, with special attention on industries that are underrepresented in our work.
  • We will support, convene and work closely with Black cultural institutions that are working toward common goals of equity: The Indianapolis Urban League, Race & Cultural Relations Network, Peace Learning Center, Indy Black Millennials.
  • We will convene conversations on issues of racial and social justice, partnering with experts and community leaders to ensure these discussions are inclusive, action-oriented and sensitive to the lived experiences of participants.

Holding Ourselves Accountable

  • We will establish a sub-committee, as outlined in our new strategic plan, of board and community members focused on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion for our organization. This group will be charged with evaluating programming, outreach and events to increase participation by Black individuals and businesses and holding the organization accountable to our commitments and goals. This committee will also help create a pipeline of diverse board and committee members throughout the organization.
  • We commit to board leadership that is reflective of our community, ensuring that the board will be comprised of diverse members and shall exceed census percentages for Black and brown residents in Marion County as a whole.
  • We will work harder to evaluate the inclusivity and reach of our programming set by:
    • Measuring demographic engagement and participation numbers to show progress and set future goals.
    • Allocating operational budget specific to programming and engagement focused on issues important to the Black community.
    • Allocating resources to continue the training and growth of our staff and board.

While we’ve taken steps in the right direction – ensuring staff attend training on implicit bias and addressing racism, partnering with diverse organizations for programming and events, and working with minority-owned businesses and professionals to ensure everything we do is more reflective of our city as a whole – we know that we can still do better.

But the question remains: Where will you be?

IndyHub will be right here, with you and for you, working harder than ever to create lasting change for Black lives.

Blake Johnson

President, IndyHub

Justin Sufan

Chair, IndyHub Board of Directors

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