Resources for creating a more inclusive community
The following are Chamber President Matt Morrow’s comments from the June 4 edition of Good Morning, Springfield!
I am incredibly proud of our community right now. I’m proud of our citizens for peacefully expressing our shared grief and outrage – and for inspiring much more action needed to fight racism in all its forms. I’m proud of our law enforcement and our City for the collaboration supporting these demonstrations and the commitment to the action needed to continue moving forward.
This is a time for leaning into our strength as a collaborative community with a history of relationship building to affect the system changes necessary to eliminate racism in a community.
There are steps you can take right now, as members of the Springfield region’s business community, to be part of that change and to create a more inclusive workplace and community. These impactful initiatives and resources are already available here thanks to the leadership of many local partners. Building on these assets is a part of the Chamber’s current strategic plan.
- Participate and encourage others to participate in the Facing Racism Institute, hosted twice a year by Missouri State University’s Division for Diversity and Inclusion (DDI). This impactful program was based on a best practice the Chamber brought back from a Community Leadership Visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, over a decade ago. It will give you the tools to create a more inclusive culture and workplace. Custom training resources and programs are also available through DDI.
- Support and participate in Missouri State's annual Collaborative Diversity Conference. This high-caliber conference features nationally recognized speakers and productive workshops. You can’t go anywhere else in the country and get better content than you’ll find here.
- Donate to support the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Diversity and Inclusion grant program.
- Read our 2019 Community Leadership Visit report from Lexington, Kentucky. In Lexington, we learned about “Courageous Conversations” – a collaborative model to bring all segments of the community together to honestly discuss difficult issues, ultimately building the trusting relationships necessary to overcome systemic barriers and achieve inclusive excellence. On the airplane ride home, Francine Pratt was already working out how to implement that model here. She’s convened a number of community partners on this, so stay tuned for details as that rolls out later this year. Just this week, in fact, Francine submitted this piece to the News-Leader about the great work that's already underway with this initiative.
- Engage with and support Minorities in Business (MIB). MIB is doing excellent work, supporting minority entrepreneurs and helping our community attract and retain diverse talent. We’re grateful to have the leadership of MIB’s executive director Samuel Knox on the chamber’s board of directors.
Taking these steps will make a difference, but we fully recognize there is more listening to do and so much more urgent work to be done to eradicate racism and its devastating impact.