Tonight we had a real conversation with an awe-inspiring panel of guests to discuss the state of race relations in our companies, communities and culture. Our moderator was J.D. Myers II, MBA, Senior Vice President and Region Manager of Virginia at Cox Communications, Inc. J.D. is also part of Cox’s national diversity council, Chairman, Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association (VCTA), Trustee of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Board Member for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). Our panelists included Michael Garner, SVP of D&I for the NYC MTA and the President of the NYC chapter of 100 Black Men along with Kela Hall, affiliate professor in the Masters of Communications Leadership program at the University of Washington. Mr. Garner is responsible for the development and expansion of Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs for the MTA. Kela a professional speaker, moderator, producer, author, spokesperson, and specialized interest journalist. Kela also co-founded her communications firm KD Hall Communications, LLC, in 2015. We were also joined by Noah Prince, Senior Consultant and Director of Consultant Development, White Men as Full Diversity Partners and Camron Phillips, Social Justice Leader, Advocacy & Elections Chair for NAACP Chesapeake Unit 7409 & Advocacy Chair for Urban League of Hampton Roads Young Professionals.
Kela stimulated thought on race relations as she discussed her focus on education. The KD Hall foundation has a focus on college students and has graduated 60 students energizing young leadership and bringing communities together for courageous conversations. Michael discussed what police reform could mean for our communities and the healing process. Michael also shared his experience working with the legislature to create sustainable change.
Noah spoke to us about his work with executives struggling with race relations in their organizations. Noah articulated the responsibilities of white allies to change the narrative. He talked about how white privilege is having the wind at your back as opposed to minorities who have to overcome the societal winds in their faces. Camron talked about what the NAACP is doing today to carry us into 2021. He spoke about the social justice programs he is driving forward tapping into people’s time, talent and treasure for economic development.
We continued to have amazing conversation on voter registration and distractions used by the opposition to take attention away from racial inequity. J.D. also led the discussion on community reinvestment, the Black Lives Matter movement, the importance of community organizations and microaggression.
Please don’t underestimate how important your role is to bringing about the change you want, need and desire. Connect with us. Attend an event. Get off the sidelines and enter the conversation today. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.”