Diversity and Inclusion

Why Black History Month Matters

By Diversity and Inclusion, Uncategorized No Comments

Black History Month is a very important time to celebrate and educate the world on the achievements of African Americans and their significant contributions to US history. Did you know that an African American invented the three light traffic signals? Probably not. Unfortunately, these are the things that are not taught in school. The Three-Light Traffic Signal was invented by Garrett Morgan in 1923.

Garett Morgan, a Black inventor and son of an enslaved parent; produced several significant inventions, including an improved sewing machine and the gas mask. As a motorist, he witnessed a severe car accident in Cleveland, Ohio. Being a quick thinker, he expanded on the current traffic light by adding a “yield” component, warning oncoming drivers of an impending stop, which probably saved the lives of millions of drivers who use the roads every day throughout the United States.

When it comes to inventions, most modern-day people heard about famous inventions like the iPhone by Steve Jobs, the light bulb by Thomas Edison to name a few. There are a lot of ingenious inventions that were invented by Black Americans that most of us use in our everyday lives and that have made our lives easier, but the inventors are often forgotten or not given the proper exposure that they deserve.   

Millions of people depend on getting fresh produce, dairy, meat, seafood, to feed their families etc.  This would not be possible without transporting these products in refrigerated trucks, since these items must be maintained at a certain temperature. With millions of refrigerated trucks bringing food, flowers, prescriptions and other essential items through the United States, this was an extremely important invention. The refrigerated truck was invented by Frederick McKinley Jones an African American in 1940 and is very an extremely important innovation that serves the world this very day. Without the use of refrigerated trucks, we would not be able to use the COVID vaccine which has saved the lives of millions of people across the globe. COVID vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer must be stored at a certain temperature or else it goes bad and must be thrown away.

Another famous invention by an African American woman was Dr. Patricia Bath who was an ophthalmologist and laser scientist. Bath was not only the first female African American doctor to patent a medical device, but also the first person to invent laserphaco cataract surgery that advanced treatment for cataracts. Dr. Bath was the first woman ophthalmologist to be appointed to the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Living in today’s world, we all know how important security can be to make sure we are all safe and sound. We owe that to Marie Van Brittan Brown, who Co-Invented Home Security System in 1966. Marie was an African American nurse, who produced an early security unit for her own home. She was living in a neighborhood in Queens that had high crime rates and felt unsafe, and being a highly creative and ingenious person, created a device that would help put her mind at ease and feel more secure: a system that used a camera that could slide into and look through four peepholes in her front door and she monitored it from her monitor and boom the home security system was born.

Over time, Marie added other features to the system, including a microphone to speak to people who come to the door, a button to unlock the door, and a button to contact the police. Marie and her husband took out a patent for the system in the same year, and they were awarded the patent three years later in 1969.

Wrapping Up

Black history month is important because it allows the African American community to raise awareness and give visibility to the people and organizations creating change, educate the world on the accomplishments of African Americans who have  played an integral role in building America and have been foundational to the growth of America, our economy and creating inventions that people use everyday and made our lives easier.   

POV By Winston Burton, SVP, SEO

How To Choose the Right Diversity Supplier

By Diversity and Inclusion, Uncategorized No Comments

Shifting Demographic Realities and New Customer Needs Drive Greater Demand for Supplier Diversity.

Most companies want to diversify their vendors and suppliers, but they don’t know where to begin. Acronym’s Chief Diversity and People Officer, Irwin Drucker, has decades of experience developing and executing Supplier Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

The descriptions that define a Diversity Supplier are changing as other categories of people who are economically disadvantaged are now being included.

And, as more data has been collected over the years, the benefits of supplier diversity – including increased revenue, increased level of innovation and broader though at the leadership level.

With all this in mind, Acronym has created a Guide to Diverse Supplier Selection.

From resources/directories and Certification explanations to checklists and questions to ask, this free guidebook has everything you need to define, develop, and execute your supplier diversity program.

Key learnings:

√ What is supplier diversity and why does it matter?

√ How do you find and qualify diverse suppliers and vendors?

√ How do you select the right diverse supplier for your business?

√ What is the business value and impact of Supplier Diversity Programs?

Download the Guidebook today and let us know if we can help you as you build out your own supplier diversity program.

juneteenth flag

Juneteenth: The Importance and Value of Action On This Day

By Acronym News, Diversity and Inclusion, Inside Acronym No Comments

It has been just over a year since the murder of George Floyd by a uniformed police officer on May 25, 2020. Since that date, it would be hard to imagine anyone in a leadership position in Corporate America to have not had a conversation regarding the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).  These conversations, in my opinion, have fallen into a couple of broad categories, based upon the legacy of DEI programs and policies at the company where the subject is being discussed.

For some companies, where DEI has been ingrained in the corporate culture for many years, the conversation likely centered around a discussion of the merits of these programs, and how they might be enhanced to maximize their results for the good of the company’s stakeholders – employees, managers, and executives, their families, clients, suppliers, and, of course, shareholders. While not easy conversations, those corporate leaders certainly had the benefit of years of “doing the right thing”, of backing up their words with concrete evidence of actions that had been taken long ago, to create a culture of inclusion throughout the workplace.

Other companies, however, were not so fortunate.  For many, taking the “me too” approach seemed the only way to go. Often, it was a case of “too little, too late.”

Yesterday, President Biden signed into law: S: 475, the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act,” which designates Juneteenth as a legal public holiday.  And, today, many businesses, schools, and communities across the country will honor Juneteenth as a recognized holiday. We’re proud that Acronym is among them as our offices are closed so our employees may reflect on the meaning of the day.

The holiday, which is finally seeing the recognition it deserves, commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Major General Gordon Granger read federal orders stating that all enslaved people in Texas were free.

Until that day, despite the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham officially freeing all slaves in the states that were in open rebellion in September of 1862, many slave owners migrated west toward Texas to escape the control of the Union army. In fact, following the Union capture of New Orleans in 1862, it is estimated that over 150,000 slaves were relocated to Texas. As one of the most remote slave states, the enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation was especially slow in Texas. Consequently, General Granger’s issue of the federal orders reflects one of the final stages of official emancipation of slaves in the Confederacy.

A year later in 1866, the first celebrations of Juneteenth occurred amongst several church congregations in Texas. Throughout much of the early 20th century, the celebrations spread across the South, and the holiday grew in popularity during the Civil Rights era and has seen worldwide acceptance in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the emergence of the Black Lives Mater movement.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have long been keys to successful implementation of many corporations’ strategic growth plans. They have been consistently proven to be important in both attracting and retaining top talent, as well as increasing a company’s client base. And, seeing corporate America recognize Juneteenth reflects the significant progress that’s been made over the years.

Simply put, embracing DEI is the right thing to do. I have spent close to forty years in corporate America, working for both small companies and large enterprises, all of which saw the value of DEI, and all of which encouraged me in my advocacy of those programs, often as an integral part of my job responsibilities. Last year, I was given the opportunity to present a training session on racism that focused on White Privilege and Unconscious Bias. Attendance at the session was voluntary, and yet over 90% of the workforce, which is predominantly white, showed up. And the effect was profound.

For the better part of a week after the session, I received calls and emails from attendees, attesting to the positive impact the session had on them and their families, as they began to finally understand issues that many of their co-workers had been dealing with their entire lives.  One of them made a comment that, I think, will stay with me forever. In his email he said, “When you asked the question ‘Have you ever had to talk to your son about how to survive a routine traffic stop and make it home alive?’, I realized how very privileged I have been as a white man. To be honest, up until that moment, my only thought would have been what that speeding ticket my kid got was going to do to my auto insurance rates.  The thought that his getting pulled over for speeding, or some such thing, could lead to his death at the hands of law enforcement would never have crossed my mind.

As a parent, I cannot imagine knowing that could happen to my child, let alone that it would be tolerated by much of our society.  Not any longer!”  Reading this, I realized there were tears streaming down my face, and I sat back and smiled, knowing that there had been a breakthrough in awareness for at least one person, and hopefully quite a few more.  And that, to me, is the most significant value to DEI.

So, with that in mind, I am once again proud to work for a company like Acronym that doesn’t just talk about diversity, equality and inclusion as the latest buzzwords. Here at Acronym, we walk the talk. You see it in the make up of our employees and senior leadership; you see it in the programs and internal initiatives we embrace, and you can see it in the moments in time we honor.

When thinking about the long-awaited national observance of this day, I can’t help but to think of the quote from Coretta Scott King who said, “Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won; you earn it and win it in every generation.”

This quote rings as true today as the day she first spoke it. There is still much work to be done in this country and around the world to ensure every human being is truly free.

But, it’s heartening to see that this year, for the first time, our country is officially recognizing Juneteenth as a federally recognized holiday.

POV By Irwin Drucker, Chief People and Diversity Officer, Acronym