Getting to Equal

As chairman of the National Urban League’s board of trustees, the board and I are pleased to present to you “Getting 2 Equal: United Not Divided,” the 2019 edition of the State of Black America®.

This year’s report highlights the continuing need of American communities and cities to engage in and prioritize bipartisan solutions to persistent and emerging problems, especially in the areas of civil rights, social justice, and inclusion. While these remain our country’s shared challenges, they also present our nation with transformative opportunities.

For more than a century, the National Urban League has been a trusted resource, responsible activist, and leader in creating pathways for stronger, economically viable, and healthier communities. The National Urban League continues to enact policy and implement effective programs that lift our urban communities and create a more equitable society. No organization is as strategically well positioned to play a major role in building the bridges that lead to positive social change. 

However, the National Urban League cannot do it alone.

Overcoming the challenges of economic and social inequality requires the commitment of every American, and the cooperation of businesses, civic organizations, governments, and individuals working together. I strongly believe that businesses are particularly well suited to facilitate transformative and impactful partnerships between the public, private, and social sectors. As such, the business sector—in strategic partnership with organizations like the National Urban League—must take the lead in creating stronger, economically viable, and healthier communities across the nation.

Business leaders can cultivate real transformation for our society from the inside out by pioneering diverse and inclusive workplaces. By harnessing the unique talents and contributions of diverse and inclusive workplaces, businesses strengthen, not only their bottom line, but the communities in which they operate. In this way, diversity and inclusion are proven key ingredients to growing a strong and equitable economy that makes our country stronger and more competitive globally.

I hope this report serves as a call to action to leaders in diverse spheres—from corporate to civil rights leaders—to embrace new ways of thinking about their companies, communities, and respective roles in confronting the myriad challenges we face as a nation. Additionally, I invite all readers to use this report and the recommendations found throughout as a catalyst to dream boldly and act locally. With our accumulated successes, Americans of every race, ethnicity, and income bracket will have a fairer chance to access all of the our nation’s promised opportunities and enjoy a more equal and more prosperous future.