American Companies Fall Short On Financial Commitments To Black Communities

The summer of 2020 brought conversations regarding police brutality and state violence to the forefront. As the conversations reached different portions of society, many large corporations like Apple, Target and Nike pledged large amounts of money toward social justice issues. According to a study by Creative Investment Research, these large companies have committed $50 billion toward social justice initiatives over an extended period of time. However, critics have argued that these funds have not been distributed in a timely manner. The Creative Investment Research study found that only $250 million of that $50 billion commitment has been distributed as of yet.

Adding to concerns, some have questioned why certain companies are becoming less transparent after making these financial commitments. Last June, Berkshire Hathaway committed to doing the following three things: get more black people involved in the real estate industry, offer internships or mentorships to black students here in Boston and support black-owned businesses in and around Boston. In contrast, Berkshire Hathaway recently rejected a proposal to issue annual reports on diversity. Elsewhere, shareholders at Johnson & Johnson stopped a similar resolution from being passed as well.

"Since the summer of 2020, when the majority of corporations rolled out their pledges, the Black Lives Matter movement has faded from the public sphere. As protestors left the streets and coverage of the 2020 election overwhelmed mainstream media, companies were now faced with the difficult task of fulfilling the promises they had made," law professor Ifeoma Ajunwa said about corporate contributions within this social justice movement.

"When it comes to racial equity, many corporations could do the right thing on their own. But even when there is a demonstrated commitment to fairness, corporations tend to fall behind when it comes to implementing anti-discrimination practices. Thus, rather than merely relying on the goodwill of corporations, we should continue to evolve stronger legal frameworks to ensure equal opportunity for all."

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