HRE Soundbite: ‘A moment can metastasize into a movement’

The racial-injustice protests have that taken over all corners of the country in the last few weeks have put employers’ feet to the fire on issues of diversity and inclusion, says Joseph K. West, partner and chief diversity officer at law firm Duane Morris. And he expects to see lasting impacts.

“We’re in an era where a moment can metastasize into a movement,” he says.

Related: How the world’s most admired companies drive D&I

West notes that the recent rising acknowledgment of the value of and need for the #BlackLivesMatter movement mirrors other historic efforts to eradicate biases, which had vast workplace implications. For instance, he cites the rapid evolution of marriage equality—in which the nation went from one state allowing same-sex marriage to a national mandate in just over a decade—and the cascading spread of the #MeToo movement.

“It’s sad to say, but women still have lots and fear of harassment and even assault in the workplace, but it’s not as widely accepted as before,” West says. “It’s not ignored or overlooked like it used to be. And I think the same thing is going to happen here. In the workplace, that tolerance for either overt racism or more subtle bias, as this all plays out, is going to become a thing of the past.”

Read more of our interview with West later this month on HRExecutive.com.

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