Community thrives when we can all come together, and for one person, it’s a mission. Adam Nugent and Kate Strong welcome Nikki Walker to the podcast. She is the director of brand experience and community engagement at Domo, Inc. When people of different races, cultures, and sexual orientations share ideas and work together, it enriches businesses and communities. Learn how lives are being changed through diversity and inclusion initiatives and how creating a diverse pool of candidates in business has created tangible results and success!
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If you say #blacklivesmatter, what does that mean? In this week’s podcast excerpt, Nikki Walker explains the importance of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and how Black Lives Matter, as a movement, is different from the organization.
AN: Can you tell us more about the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce?
NW: The Utah Black Chamber is just a little over 10 years old, and what we do is connect businesses to the black population, and really to the minority population. When businesses are looking to fill pipelines with diverse candidates, they come to us. When organizations are trying to find out what a diversity and inclusion program could look like for their organization, they come to us. When folks are looking to find the black community, whether that is a hairdresser or a barber or a physician or whatever, then they come to the Black Chamber. So, we provide resources for people to be able to experience community when they come here because that’s a big deal when people are relocating to Utah.
It’s something you don’t really think about, but it is a real thing. Having culturally responsible makeup artists, hairstylists, and estheticians, and people who understand racial-medical bias where the doctors understand that that is a thing. So, when I go to the doctor and say, “I’m in pain,” it’s not overlooked because I’m a Black woman and I might be exaggerating. And these are things that really happen and that are studied.
AN: So, coming off the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s interesting. My perspective growing up as a White male here in Utah and seeing hearing stories from both sides, it seems that in many ways there’s been a ton of positive progression. It’s been very positive. Everybody has their perspective. Have you found that it’s almost created in some ways, a segment of the population that are almost offended by it? Have you experienced that or seen that?
NW: I have, and I think that a big part of it is educating people on what Black Lives Matter means. Black Lives Matter is an organization. And then #BlackLivesMatter is a movement. And then “Black lives matter” is a statement, right? So there are these three different things circling around, but you don’t know that those are three different things, and so, people confuse things, get upset, get offended, get annoyed. The Black Lives Matter organization is not something that I am affiliated with. It doesn’t operate like organizations that I belong to. It doesn’t operate like an organization that I would want to be a part of.
But the Black Lives Matter movement is something that I fully support. And what that is, is this idea that the lives of Black people matter. And it is the function of doing things to support that idea. Now, whether that means protesting, or it means sitting on the hill and talking to legislators, or it means corralling your friends and cleaning up the neighborhood, whatever it means for you is what it means for you.
To learn more about minority chambers of commerce in Utah, visit livingcolorut.com.
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