Updated Dec 14, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A Hard Truths series wrap event

On Tuesday, December 14th, Axios Editor-in-Chief Sara Kehaulani Goo and justice and race reporter Russ Contreras hosted a Hard Truths event to uncover the progress that has been made since the series began and consider where action on systemic racism still falls short, featuring NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson and Let the World See You author Sam Acho.

Derrick Johnson illustrated the areas our country has made the most progress in when it comes to racial justice and the important role of politics in advancing substantial equality.

  • On the need for more policy action on voting rights and police reform: “As we move in the right direction, in our language and our conversations, we must actually adopt public policy…to alleviate or turn around structural barriers based on race.”
  • On looking beyond corporate pledges to make a difference: “A single check isn’t going to solve the problems of the country. It has to be a joint sustained effort to ensure that all citizens are looked on and treated fairly…many in corporate America make great statements, but we are now beginning to do an analysis of what happened beyond the check…”

Sam Acho described finding his purpose as the world around him had a racial reckoning, how to remain hopeful amidst widespread injustices, and what the nation is currently getting wrong as we try to overcome our legacy of systemic racism.

  • On spreading hope on the path toward achieving justice: “I think that’s what justice at its core is, it’s bringing hope and healing to people, systems, organizations, places that are broken.”
  • On the importance of self-reflection when evaluating systemic racism: “When it comes to systemic racism or any issues in the world, you have to look at yourself first and also evaluate yourself and say, ‘okay, how can I help change these systems around me?’”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with U.S. Bank Senior Executive VP & Chief Diversity Officer Greg Cunningham, who highlighted the primary challenges and disparities that small business owners of color continue to face.

  • “For small businesses, typically access to capital is usually the biggest hurdle that minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses in particular face…what these small businesses need, in addition to that capital I mentioned, is they actually just need a contract.”

Thank you U.S. Bank for sponsoring this event.

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