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Businesses take 'Indy Accompliceship' pledge

The goal: Equality in the workplace
Posted at 7:06 PM, Oct 30, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — On the heels of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, people have raised their hands, saying they stand in solidarity with the Black community. They want to be an ally. But now what?

Ten Indianapolis businesses have promised to take actionable steps to address equity in the workplace.

“Part of what we’ve noticed is that there are a lot of Black Lives Matter statements. But then corporations needed to know what the next step was,” says Marshawn Wolley, CEO of Black Onyx Management Inc.

“It is an ongoing pledge that furthers our commitment to improving the black community,” says Vop Osili, City-County Council President. “Whereas an accomplice will provide equitable opportunities for Black people to be hired, mentored, sponsored, and promoted to meaningful work.”

“It’s access to the board rooms starting at corporate board members,” says Wolley. “Do we have Black corporate board members on these corporate boards? Do we have Black people in the seat level positions and organizations even at the director level? When we’re thinking about contractors, are we thinking about Black prime contractors as opposed to just subcontractors?”

The Indy Accompliceship business plan, led by Black Onyx Management Inc., focuses on four pillars: diversifying the workplace, workforce, marketplace and community to decrease the Black/white pay gap for similar roles, increase Black people in leadership roles and money spent with Black vendors.

It pushes companies like Penske Entertainment out of their comfort zone and strives for more accountability.

“Recruiting of diverse talent and their retention and development within our organization. Working with diverse suppliers and identifying particularly black businesses that can be helpful to us as we conduct our races and our events at the Indianapolis motor Speedway but across the series,” says Jimmie McMillian, Penske Entertainment Senior Corporate Council and Chief Diversity Officer.

Penske is among other businesses and non-profits like Downtown Indy Inc., Indiana Sports Corp and local ad agency MKR.

“We provided marketing services, strategic support to help local Black owned businesses thrive,” says Peter Kim, NKR President. “This entire service we are doing is pro bono. We are not charging a nickel for it.”

Businesses, big and small, they say, can play a vital role in addressing systematic racism and make real, equitable change.

“I feel there’s many members of the African-American community that could come in to motor sports as a whole and transform it into something even greater than what it is today,” said McMillian. “It is important because those folks out there represent not only potential fans, but they represent potential drivers potential winners of the Indy 500.”

The organization will conduct quarterly check-ins, community introductions, and provide ongoing support.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit: