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Morehouse students lead the 2nd Atlanta Student Movement to advocate for accountable corporate responsibility in regards to racial equity commitments.

Student leaders currently matriculating at Morehouse College have formed the 2nd Atlanta Student Movement with the endorsement of Atlanta Council Member Micheal Julian Bond. These students were inspired by the legacy left from the actions of Julius Bond, Joseph Pierce, and Lonnie King Jr who led students to participate in the original Atlanta Student Movement (1960-1965). Student representatives from 6 colleges and universities here in Atlanta have signed the 2nd Atlanta Student Movement Petition. (Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta Uni, Georgia State Uni, Spelman College, Georgia Tech.)

The goal is to bring awareness to corporate responsibility and accountability as it relates to racial equity practices.

“Students are petitioning for an audience with one, some, or all 20 target corporations to begin the Black Certification – RERAP (Racial Equity Responsibility, Performance, & Accountability survey.)

These students intend to contact each firm directly at an undisclosed time only after our petition has reached a substantial benchmark and proper awareness. If a firm feels that it would be beneficial for them to prematurely reach out to us and open the conversation surrounding their corporate accountability measures please contact us here: 2ndatlantastudentmovement@blackcertificationagency.org

Target Companies: Nebo – Chick-Fil-A – Delta Air Lines – Look Listen – Blue Cypress Consulting – Genuine Parts Company – Mercedes Benz of Buckhead – Cadence Bank – The Dragon Army – The Home Depot – Goldman Sachs – Atlanta Hawks – Truist – Hothouse – Dentons – Wells Fargo – United Parcel Service – Marriott Marquis Atlanta – Coca Cola – Newell Brands

The occasion for this movement comes from firms signing & committing 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 committed to; 1. Carrying out targeted actions to address systemic racism and advance racial equity in four areas and; 2. Tracking the progress of this initiative and the subsequent associated KPIs.

The students are empowered by the Black Certification Agency Incorporated; a public benefit corporation. This agency provides Black Certification; the one & only visible business certification that is based on a racial equity key performance indicator survey. With this survey, the Black and African American community has a direct accountability measure plus intrinsic insight into corporate policies. Our position of advocacy comes as a group of diverse & talented students at Atlanta’s colleges and universities who understand their role as the next generation of Atlanta’s full-time employees. The purpose for Black Certification™️ is a call for true accountability through oversight that encourages performance and true progress.

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.”

Investopedia.com

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% stated Black Lives Matter.

(source: As You Sow, a California-based group that promotes environmental and social corporate responsibility).

What this shows is that major corporations and companies understand and believe, to some extent, they have a responsibility & position 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. However; it is not clear as to the progress or seriousness of these commitments. Students have proposed that to solidify their commitment to stakeholders and truly become progressive companies these firms must go farther than simple position statements or one-time financial contributions. Actions like these can be insincere or ultimately become largely performative. 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.

More about BCA.

The Black Certification Agency Incorporated (BCA) is a Public Benefit Corporation formed to advocate for and create better relationships between Black and African Americans and American corporations. We seek to be an independent accountability partner to the major corporations that are committed to addressing racial inequalities and corporate social responsibility. Our founders are students of Morehouse College which has given them a unique perspective and ability to advocate for the Black community of Atlanta, GA. We believe true accountability is something that must happen with the intrinsic perspective of our voices. We have witnessed the beginnings of corporate activism as it relates to Black Americans and we envision creating a broader professional movement. From the streets to the boardroom; we are now giving companies the ability to become allied activists of the movement.

Last summer numerous commitments were made from the corporate community in reference to Black Americans and we felt like there was something we could be doing. Our founder began to call upon his brothers & sisters to discuss solutions and they quickly set to work on various plans over the summer. We understood that throughout history commitments made to the Black Americans were often never completely & directly received; this became very apparent as almost every systemic form of systemic racism was highlighted in America during the pandemic. We are very serious about corporate racial equity progress because we truly believe a fully inclusive business environment will create a subsequent diverse & robust economy.

The communication & engagement among consumers and corporations have traditionally been exclusive to members of a certain class, but in the Black community, that communication and engagement are almost nonexistent. We are very serious about changing that. BCA understands that there are various areas of protest and advocacy involved in dismantling all areas of perpetuated, structural, systemic, and benevolent racism that is consistently experienced by Black Americans every day in this country. Our motivation in this movement comes from the historical victories of our Alumni through the Atlanta Student Movement and the Civil Rights movements respectively; these were battles that were fought and won in the streets. Our 2nd Atlanta Student Movement calls for corporate responsibility & accountability from the companies both small and large that now lead Atlanta. Large-scale change occurs when we leverage the scale influence of corporations and we support the daily lives of their stakeholders. We want the most progressive and inclusive companies of Atlanta to be the leaders of Black Certification so the Black community, Black consumers, and investors at scale will know the true commitment they have made to using their corporate responsibility to enact real progress.

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