It's Time To #EvolveNow: Harnessing Disruption to Unleash the Power of Diverse Young Talent

We are living in a time of reckoning. In recent months, the compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of systemic racism have surfaced the vulnerabilities in our economy, critical infrastructures, and society as a whole. These issues have shown how deeply inequality continues to affect our daily lives. The statistics are an indictment of how an outdated, non-inclusive system denies all of us our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Here are three truths we know about what was our status quo and the realities of what we are facing today:

  1. Our economy was not built to be inclusive, even when it is growing. Numerous studies have shown how a strong, growing economy does not translate into job and economic gains for BIPOC communities. (Economic Policy Institute, 2019)

  2. Black and brown youth are disproportionately impacted by unemployment and lack of opportunities. The persistence of joblessness and lack of economic mobility among our BIPOC young people is growing into a crisis of epic proportions that will negatively impact our ability to achieve a successful economic recovery. (Center for American Progress, 2019)

  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionately devastating impact on young BIPOC workers, worsening the impact of youth unemployment and lack of opportunity among some of the most vulnerable groups in our economy. (CNN Business Report, 2020)

Despite these realities, the good news is that we do not need to return to the broken status quo. We can and must emerge from this time of disruption better. In fact, we know there is a better, more competitive, and sustainable way to exist - an inclusive economy where we trade in the old ways of thinking about out-of-work individuals being burdens to the system for a fresh, new perspective.

Image adapted from The Washington Post, Source: U.S. Labor Department

At LeadersUp, we are intentional in calling our young adults “talent” and our North Star belief is that the millions of out-of-work young BIPOC talent is the biggest source of untapped potential our nation has in its arsenal to drive our recovery toward a wholly inclusive economy. They define the margin of how successful our most innovative companies and industries could be when they become electrified with the energy of empowered, young, diverse talent. And still, the impact of systemic racism has always been and continues to be a critical factor in suppressing diverse talent and futures. From outright discriminatory practices dating back to the segregation era to the present day, systemic racism continues to be a major factor that impacts the performance of young adults of color in the labor market.

The public responses of the corporate sector toward combating racism have been encouraging. But, it’s time to move from statements to action - to harness the currents of social disruption and the reawakening of America to the realities of systemic racism to evolve into something better.