Mineral Webinar: Workplace DEI Efforts Don’t Have to Swerve for Supreme Court

Kelley Butler

Kelley Butler

On June 29—just 10 days after Juneteenth, a nationwide observance celebrating the true end of chattel slavery in the United States—the Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions, ruling race cannot be a factor in admission decisions. The Court’s 6-3 decision presents significant challenges to the nation’s colleges and universities in their efforts to build diverse student populations that also achieve equity in access and inclusion for all identities in higher learning.

In the weeks that have followed, HR professionals couldn’t help but wonder: What does this mean for employment?

Specifically, what does it mean for the multiyear and multibillion-dollar investments employers have made in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts within their organizations?

According to our two speakers at this week’s Mineral webinar, “From Performative to Purposeful: Small Business Strategies for DEI,” those investments—which, according to McKinsey, are expected to double from $7.5 billion in 2020 to $15.4 billion by 2026—are not for nothing, nor should they be.

Jaime Brown, DEI Strategist with the City of Concord, NC, pointed to the lack of diversity on the Court itself as a prime example of why HR and business leaders need to continue and even accelerate their forward momentum around DEI.

“I look at the Supreme Court justices and I don’t see how most of my views could be represented across all of my identities—and I’m specifically thinking about generation,” Jaime said. “Generationally, I definitely have differing views from the Supreme Court justices and I can imagine others would agree with that as well. And I think we are missing just a lot of perspectives by not having more diverse representation at such a high level. And that’s scary.”

For Carla Yudhishthu, Mineral’s Chief People Officer, the recent ruling means using that fear as fuel to take DEI even further. “It makes me want to do nothing but dig in more on the work we’re doing from a DEIB perspective. And I know a lot of employers are feeling this way,” she said.

She acknowledged though, the fear and frustration many employees and DEI practitioners—particularly those from racialized and marginalized communities—likely feel in the wake of the ruling. “A lot of folks that are doing work in this in this space [are frustrated] because it’s just another step back for us on at a national level. And so, I think it just emphasizes the importance of the work that we’re doing,” Carla said.

“And, you know, I think [to Jaime’s] point, I think we have to keep our head down on doing the work that we’re doing [in the] hope for a better future.”

Hear Carla and Jaime’s full hour-long discussion, including their recommended strategies for how small businesses can make an authentic, sustainable, and lasting impact with DEI: Watch the “From Performative to Purposeful: Small Business Strategies for DEI” on-demand now.

Author: Kelley Butler
Kelley Butler is the Manager of Content Marketing at Mineral.