‘Needed now more than ever’
Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to the CEOs of the nation’s Fortune 100 financial services companies urging them to continue their diversity and inclusion practices, particularly following threats from Republican Attorneys General pressuring them to divest from these practices, which Congresswoman Waters slammed them for in a recently released statement.
In the letter, Waters emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion efforts to level the playing field for underrepresented groups and the clear benefit it adds to their bottom line, and urges the CEOs to remain committed to upholding diversity and inclusion in the workplace and thwarting attacks on the progress we’ve made following the murder of George Floyd.
In 2019, one of the first actions then Chairwoman Waters took was to establish the Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee, which was chaired by Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. Under their leadership, the subcommittee authored several reports examining the lack of diversity in the financial services industry and undertook historic work to increase diversity in the industry at all levels. These extremist efforts threaten to undo all of this critical work. A portion of the letter follows:
“I write in response to the letter sent to your company by Republican AGs urging you to divest from diversity and inclusion practices. I am particularly concerned by the use of misinformation and threats of “serious legal consequences” as a way to intimidate you from engaging in commonsense business practices,” Waters wrote. “Diversity and inclusion is needed now more than ever as America is expected to become majority people of color by 2045. However, despite rapidly changing demographics, the financial services industry remains mostly white and male, and there is an intentional effort to maintain the status quo.
“Though America has seen some progress in ensuring that America’s workforce is as diverse as the American people, we must not overlook historical context and ongoing systemic bias that necessitates diversity and inclusion practices. The recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in college admissions should not be used as a basis to attack workplace diversity initiatives.”