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2nd ATLANTA STUDENT MOVEMENT

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The 2nd Atlanta Student Movement is Atlanta’s collegiate corporate racial equity accountability initiative. We are petitioning 20 companies to take our racial equity accountability survey to take their racial equity performance and commitments.

The Black Certification Agency, a Public Benefit Corporation, was founded during the summer of 2020 by a group of Morehouse students with backgrounds in nonprofits, entrepreneurship, business, economics, marketing, public relations, and leadership. Our purpose; to fill the need for accountability in corporate social responsibility practices as it relates to Black and African American people. We are an independent student-led organization that advocates for inclusive economic opportunities, DE&I focused on Black talent and authentic consumer engagement through a racial equity auditing survey. We are an accountability partner to the most inclusive and progressive major corporations. We envision a professional movement, nationally, of Black Certified Corporations.

Our founders were inspired by Morehouse Alumni Julian Bond, Lonnie King Jr, and Joseph Pierce who led the famous Atlanta Student Movement in February 1960. As students, these brothers led sit-ins and marches throughout the city and ultimately caused the desegregation of public and private establishments in Atlanta. This was accomplished through the collaborative effort of students and student leaders from the Atlanta University Centers’ 6 historically Black Colleges & Universities leading this initiative….

We are organizing Black student leaders, and their allies, at 8 of Atlanta’s Colleges and Universities.

On behalf of Atlanta’s Black collegiate community – representing students at Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morris Brown, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and all other allies – we are petitioning for the 20 major corporations (listed below) headquartered or otherwise operating in Atlanta, GA to take the Black Certification Racial Equity Auditing Survey.

We are asking for an audience with all 20 corporations to discuss the process of our initiative and audit. We will contact each firm directly at an undisclosed time only after our petition has reached a certain benchmark. If a firm feels that it would be beneficial for them to prematurely reach out to us and open the conversation surrounding corporate accountability please contact us here: collegiateracialequity@blackcertificationagency.org

These firms signed & committed to the “ATL Action for Racial Equity”, powered by the Atlanta Metro Chamber. This commitment signified them as an inclusive & progressive company dedicated to addressing systemic racism. By signing, these corporations have committed to: (source – atlracialequity.com)

1. Carrying out targeted actions to address systemic racism and advance racial equity in four areas.

2. Tracking the progress of this initiative and the subsequent associated KPIs.

Our position of advocacy comes as a group of diverse & talented students at Atlanta’s colleges and universities who understand their role as the foundation of the next generation of Atlanta’s full-time employees.

Belief Statements:

  • – Any plan or initiative that involves the future of business practices needs to include a younger demographic’s perspectives as it is a stake in our futures.
  • – Responsible & accountable corporate practices cannot be achieved nor properly assessed if it is not done from the independent perspective of those it intends to account for.
  • – Internal accountability measures seem the same as if students were administering and grading their own exams. This would allow for & expose the results to a variety of factors that could and would undermine the legitimacy of their responses.

Click Here “Michael Julian Bond” below to view our conversation with the son of one of the most prolific leaders of the Atlanta Student Movement – Julian Bond. http://blackcertificationagency.org/black-book/  

The foundational case for Black Certification is a call for true accountability through oversight that encourages performance and true progress. Investopedia.com describes corporate accountability as “a company’s performance in non-financial areas such as social responsibility and sustainability. Corporate accountability espouses that financial performance should not be a company’s only important goal and that shareholders are not the only people to whom a company must be responsible; stakeholders such as employees and community members also require accountability.”

It is our prevailing belief that true accountability cannot ever be achieved if it is not assessed from the individual and independent perspective of those whom it intends to account for. During last summer, the beginning of a reinvigorated national and arguably global reckoning with racial inequality occurred. Two-thirds of the S&P 500 companies made supportive statements after the death of George Floyd; following suit 36% of those companies made financial contributions to racial justice organizations and 14% actually stated Black Lives Matter. (source As You Sow, a California based group that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility).

What this showed us was major corporations and companies understand and believe to some extent they have a responsibility to address social issues. With a clear understanding of the current social climate coupled with the power and disposition of Black or African American people, these companies understood that those position statements, initiatives, and contributions were in their best professional business interests. We propose that to solidify their business interests, corporations must go farther than simple statements or one-time financial contributions. Actions like these can be insincere or can ultimately become largely performative attempts. A one-time payout or payoff to one organization is not a major step towards addressing 400 years of systemic racism for some 40 million Black & African Americans. Moreover, it does nothing to prove change if corporations refuse some form of transparency, accountability, and reoccurring proofs of progress within the firm’s initiatives and contributions.

Black Certification is corporate social insurance backed by a voluntary but confidential racial equity performance auditing survey that tracks specific KPIs related to companies’ racial equity commitments. We use those performance metrics, submitted survey data, plus independent research and evaluation to establish our specialized social (ESG) credibility rating for Black Certified Corporations.

(The Numbers) – Statistics & Quotes:

“60% of millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality — the brand must speak to them at this level and make them feel good.” (source: Understanding the research on millennial shopping behaviors forbes.com 2020)

“No one knows black audiences like black marketers and advertisers. Black-owned agencies are uniquely positioned as both industry experts and members of a lucrative, yet underserved market demographic. This allows them intrinsic authenticity and the ability to leverage that authenticity into winning campaigns for their clients……Having black-owned and black-operated agencies create content, head campaigns and design visuals made for black audiences will show genuine support. Brands are seen as champions and responsible producers rather than culture vultures trying to take advantage. In order to succeed, you have to be perceived as marketing for – not just marketing to – African-Americans. Black voices as a part of the process achieve that.” (If you want Black audiences give them a seat at the table Jenelle Coy, forbes.com 2020).

Black or African Americans owned 124,004 employer businesses (firms with at least one paid employee) in 2017. This accounts for 2.2% percent of the 5.7 million total employer businesses in the United States. (source: Annual Business Survey 2017)

Black and African Americans boast a 1.4 trillion-dollar spending power; higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Nigeria. (source: Investopedia.com 2019 & cnbc.com 2019)

“Marketers would be remiss to gloss over a segment with such powerful sway over the broader consumer base. In this way, the investment case becomes two-fold. Reaching African-Americans generates ROI not only within the segment but also carries a halo effect for crossover initiatives to the Total Market.” (source: African American consumers: Cultural Influencers collegegroup.com)

“Because Blacks are younger on average, they’re trendsetters and tastemakers for young consumers of all races, according to the Selig Center. They influence mainstream culture and wield immense influence over how Americans choose to spend their money.” (source: Marketing Insights from Black History Month: A look at Black Influence on pop culture crrresearch.com)

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