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Race, Racism and Human Resources

Our 2020 Symposium session videos will be available on the platform until December 31, 2020, but we know it’s way more fun to watch the presentations with others so we’re having three watch parties during the month of December.  The watch parties will consist of the presentation (roughly 60 minutes) followed by live discussion with watch party attendees.  If you registered for the 2020 Symposium, watch for the email with all log-in details for the watch parties. Questions should be sent to

Session Topic: Race, Racism and Human Resources

Speakers: Melissa DePino & Michelle Saahene, From Privilege to Progress; Moderated by Jameel Rush, VP Diversity and Inclusion at Aramark

About this Session: Michelle and Melissa started From Privilege to Progress (P2P)—a national movement to desegregate the public conversation about race and racism—after their viral video of Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson’s unjust arrest at a Philadelphia area Starbucks captured international attention. During this one-hour session, Michelle and Melissa will briefly recount their lived experiences related to the Starbucks incident and its implications for understanding what racism looks like today. They will lead a conversation about the importance of individual change and the ways in which it creates a culture of authentic inclusion and diversity in the workplace, a healthy and profitable business, and a more equal and just society.

Jameel Rush will moderate the conversation and delve into the questions HR practitioners and business leaders want to know about driving racial equity in their organizations. Michelle and Melissa will recommend skills that can be used to introduce these topics into the workplace, demonstrate how we can hold open conversations with our leaders and teams, and how HR can drive personal accountability toward authentic organizational culture change. Outcomes include heightened awareness, a readiness for deeper levels of empathy, and a common language with which to continue the conversation within the organization and in everyday life.