NewsPublic Affairs / October 8, 2020

Indiana-Based Companies Commit To Improving Racial Equity Internally And In Indy

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Following protests in Indianapolis through the summer, several businesses joined the Indy Racial Equity Pledge to address inequalities while increasing job opportunities and raising entry-level wages. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Following protests in Indianapolis through the summer, several businesses joined the Indy Racial Equity Pledge to address inequalities while increasing job opportunities and raising entry-level wages.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana-based companies are pledging to address racial equity internally and through outreach in their communities. A coalition of leaders from companies and civic organizations located in Indianapolis made public commitments Thursday.

The Indy Racial Equity Pledge includes addressing inequalities in health, education, and criminal justice while increasing job opportunities and raising entry-level wages.

Officials from Eli Lilly, Roche Diagnostics, Anthem, IU Health, Cummins, Citizens Energy Group, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, and the Indianapolis Colts participated on the virtual call giving some details to each company's plans to improve the quality of life for Black residents in the city.

“It is going to take all of us,” said Indianapolis Urban League President Tony Mason. “Failure is not an option and why in Indianapolis, we have 248,000 Black people and 28 percent live in poverty.”

Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks said the global pharmaceutical company is addressing racial inequities by increasing the diversity of the workforce.

“First, we intend to further increase the current representation of African Americans in our U.S. workforce to align more closely with the national demographics of the patients and the communities we serve,” said Ricks. “Today we're at about 10 percent Black employees, we're going to get to 13 percent.”

IU Health CEO Dennis Murphy said he is working to raise the entry-level salary for employees working for the health care provider.

“We know that there's an opportunity to lift everyone up economically,” said Mason. “We cannot afford to lose the momentum and energy that we have today to drive change. The community is counting on us. They are watching us and we will be held accountable.” 

All companies and civic organizations participating in the coalition will have their equity plans posted on a website to be tracked to provide progress reports.

Contact reporter Samantha at shorton@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

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