Major Atlanta companies join together in new initiative to end systemic racism

ATLANTA — More than 160 metro Atlanta companies, including WSB-TV’s parent company Cox Media Group, are joining forces to advance racial equity in Atlanta. And they’re looking for more to join the effort.

The Metro Atlanta Chamber is embodying the urgency of now as the time to take action.

The initiative, called “ATL Action for Racial Equity,” has the support of the iconic big names in Atlanta business, but its organizers want this initiative to reach all the way to mom and pop shops.

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Companies synonymous with Atlanta, like Delta Airlines, UPS, The Coca-Cola Company, Cox Enterprises, Cox Media Group and the Atlanta Hawks, are uniting in their goal to end systemic racism affecting the Black community.

“We took out the largest bank loan in history for Black-owned banks. Thirty-five million dollars to refinance our practice facility. That creates $350 million for that consortium of working bank capital,” said Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks. He says business decisions like that embody the initiative’s core, something that points back to the roots of the Metro Atlanta chamber.

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In the 1960′s, the chamber advocated to end school segregation and now supports hate crimes legislation.

The first step in the initiative unveils a focus on corporate policies and action.

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“The great thing about this initiative is that there are playbooks for you to reference,” said Latresa Ryan, Executive Director of Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative. “There’s a collective effort here for you to be a part of.”

Beverage giant Coca-Cola made a very intentional commitment along these lines in 2020 -- to spend a half a billion dollars with Black-owned businesses over the next five years.

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The corporate playbook sets goals for getting more Black leaders on corporate boards, in executive positions and creating internships and entry level positions with AUC students.

The chamber believes the size of a company does not matter. It’s about a commitment.

For more information on the initiative, click here.