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Upcoming summit in Rochester focuses on issues surrounding DEI

Rochester skyline. (photo by Max Schulte)
Max Schulte
Rochester skyline. (photo by Max Schulte)

There’s a conference scheduled for next week in Rochester with the goal of helping business leaders and employees explore the current issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion.

DEI, the acronym for that inclusive effort, has been around for several years now, but Monica Gebell, the Executive Director of the Levine Center to End Hate said there has been some pushback against that movement.

She said it comes from people who think it threatens the idea of advancing through an organization by merit, or feel that it is a former of reverse discrimination.

“(Some) people see it as threatening meritocracy or reverse discrimination,” said Gebell, “when really, DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion programs, were implemented to uplift and create more equitable opportunities for people that normally wouldn't have them.”

And besides that key goal, Gebell said that practicing DEI can help a business succeed in the long run.

“I think when people feel included, and they feel like they do have a place where they are truly understood and they belong…then it's great for retention, and it's great for productivity,” said Gebell.

One of the workshop leaders at the upcoming Brave Spaces Summit is David Powe, partner and lead consultant at AIOPX Management consulting. He said that, “companies that commit to DEI principles will inspire others to end hate and strive for transformative change in their respective industries.”

The Brave Spaces Summit, a half-day event, takes place on June 11 from 8:00 a.m. to noon at the Memorial Art Gallery.

Among the speakers will be Emanuel Acho, a former NFL player, now a sports analyst, who also writes and speaks on issues surrounding racism.

There is more information about the summit at this link.

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.