Key Alliance for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 2022 Programs Include May Conference and ‘SAFE’ Business Directory | WJHL

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A local non-profit organization aimed at helping the region attract a more diverse population to the area is gearing up for a “Regional Call to Action” summit at the Meadowview Conference Center in Kingsport on May 5.

The Northeast Tennessee Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Alliance was formed last year and recently obtained official 501(c)3 exempt nonprofit status. of tax.

With a particular focus on people of color and the LGBTQ community, DCI Alliance leaders say the region can grow economically to its greatest potential through concerted inclusion efforts.

The May 5 summit, according to a press release, “will focus on launching the region on a journey towards the principles and practice of diversity, equity and inclusion, which will lead to growth accelerated economic and community”.

Besides the May conference, the alliance’s other “flagship program” for 2022 is a relaunch of what is called the SAFE program. SAFE stands for Supporting Acceptance for Everyone and offers businesses in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia a chance to be part of a regional directory of businesses that ensure a welcoming environment for people who have historically been marginalized. .

After signing a SAFE Pledge, any business in the 12-County DEI Alliance area will be listed in this regional directory and will receive a poster and sticker that they can display. These promise that “marginalized people and their allies can support this company with their shopping dollars while being welcome and safe.”

“We want the SAFE program to turn into a collection of gestures on every main street in every town in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia that says we live what we believe,” said Katherine Barteck , board member of DEI Alliance, in the press release.

Miles Burdine, CEO of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce, is a strong supporter of the Alliance and its aims. He told News Channel 11 that the chamber has tried to take a leadership role in promoting diversity and inclusion.

“We believe that we need to set an example for the business world, because the business world itself always asks us ‘what can you do to help us attract and retain talent, whatever their color, their belief, their direction?’ We have focused on that and our companies expect us to focus and work on it.

Burdine said that while progress has been made, he believes the Alliance “formally validates” the need to increase these efforts and that the summit will be an important launching point.

“I haven’t really been involved in designing the agenda, but I’ve seen the ideas for the agenda and I think it will be a very effective effort to get more attention, we need to become a more welcoming,” he said.

To learn more about the SAFE program, the conference and DEI Alliance, visit the alliance’s website,

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