A Message from the American Association of Blacks in Energy
The recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd as well as those of so many other African Americans is all too familiar. We all deeply feel the pain our communities suffer with injustice. None of us can un-see what we’ve seen. We can no longer be quiet and hope that things will change. We can no longer be passive by-standers and think that we are unaffected.
While worldwide protests continue, we also recognize that in this moment there is an opportunity for our industry to lead by doing more. As organizations ask themselves the question, “What can we do?”; AABE suggest that they start with the end in mind which means greater representation of African Americans in, employment, leadership, business contracting andworkforce development in the energy industry. Progress must be measurable with accountability.
Here are five key actions that must take place to achieve success:
Companies must work to create an inclusive environment where all employees feel valued. It is time to get our houses in order. We must focus on understanding our current corporate cultures; identifying where there are biases and remove them. We must create opportunities for honest conversations so that we can have inclusive organizations.
Companies must have focused efforts to increase African American employment. It is time that we find great talent where they are, not where we want them to be. We must take advantage of the networks available to us to facilitate inclusive environments. We must demand that our partners make the same commitments.
Companies must develop a pathway to leadership for African American employees. This commitment must extend to all levels of the organization including corporate board of directors because that is a true demonstration of your commitment to diversity. Without a laser like focus, we cannot expect success.
Companies must commit to equitable spending with African American owned businesses that stand ready to deliver value to our industryand invest in capacity building for industry focused African American small businesses. Additionally, there must be a commitment to support programs which develop small businesses.
Companies should direct their resources to encourage and supportAfrican American students. Corporate internship and other programs should have goals which ensure African American students get early career developing opportunities.
Since 1977, the American Association of Blacks in Energy has been focused on ensuring that our communities aren’t disproportionately impacted in the development of energy policy and has been championing greater representation in our industry; as employees, leaders, business owners and policy makers. Without industry commitment to these same things, we will never have the type of industry we all want, and that the future will demand.
Telisa Toliver Paula Glover
Chairman of the Board President & CEO