Racial Equity & Social Justice Listening Sessions

Across the country, and around the world, long standing issues of racial equity and social justice are coming to a head in the form of protests and civil unrest.

Wexford Science & Technology would like to host a series of conversations around racial equity and social justice across our network of Knowledge Communities. In essence, we have a community of communities we would like to hear from.

To begin with, we will hold three identical discussions – listening sessions.

For convenience, we have three different times available to participate. Each session will have similar content and follow the same format. We invite you to participate in the one that works best with your schedule:

All too often, in times like this, those most directly impacted – in this case, People of Color – are asked what can be done to address these issues. It is a complex system built upon generations, if not centuries, of racism and oppression. One group probably doesn’t hold the answer, but several groups hold a piece of it. Now is the time to think, act, and work as a collective body.

Our system is broken, and yesterday’s solutions will not fix today’s problems. And if today’s problems don’t get fixed, they will become a harmful and destructive reality for many more people in this country. For inclusive economic development to occur, we need a better system and structure in place.

If we are really to believe that innovation is a process to improve the human condition, then we need to ensure the most vulnerable of humans have the opportunity to share in prosperity and enjoy a life of economic mobility free from harm.

You are receiving this message because you are connected to one of many Wexford Science & Technology Knowledge Communities. In innovation districts around the United States, there are brilliant people applying their skills and knowledge to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. Many are finding cures for disease or addressing climate change. Others are working toward feeding the planet or improving life as we age. And there are those creating algorithms that will improve logistics or new processes to reduce costs associated with manufacturing. But what role and responsibility do innovators in these knowledge communities play in solving some of the social challenges of our time? The issue of racial equity and economic mobility is a similar shared, global experience and requires no less effort or commitment.

If you are an entrepreneur, tenant in one of our Knowledge Communities, innovation district leader, university staff/faculty, corporate innovator, or civic leader we would like you to participate. Your participation will also be a chance for you to connect with your peers in other Knowledge Communities. Below is the framework we will follow for this initial discussion.

  1. Reflect: How has a lack of racial equity or social justice impacted your community?
  2. Roles: What role do innovators and members of the Knowledge Community play in creating a more equitable and just system?
  3. Responsibilities: What do individual, organizational and collective responsibilities toward better outcomes look like?
  4. Actions: In what ways can Knowledge Communities play an active role in the movement toward greater racial equity and social justice?

Possible outcomes of this work, besides greater equity and justice, could be a collective commitment to continue doing the work (because it might never be finished), specific workforce development strategies that can help break cycles of poverty and provide a pathway toward career participation in the innovation sector, or economic development tactics that involve items such as procurement and partnerships (leveraging the power of the purse).

These sessions will be facilitated by Travis Sheridan, Senior Vice President and Chief Community Officer at Wexford Science & Technology. Travis will share the findings with the broader group and communicate action items that come out of the sessions.