Today’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court on affirmative action programs at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University will have significant generational impacts on the business community, particularly for supplier diversity and business diversity programs that strengthen critical supply chains and promote economic development in underserved communities. As the CEO and president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), I am deeply concerned about the ramifications of this decision.
Diversity is the strength of America, but for far too long, systemic discrimination has hindered opportunities for people of color in education, jobs, healthcare, business, and technology. Affirmative action programs have been essential in advancing inclusion and economic opportunities, recognizing the historical narratives of marginalized communities, and addressing present-day inequities.
This decision poses a direct threat to minority-owned businesses and their economic prosperity. As an immigrant who came to the United States with limited resources and who became the CEO of a national organization advocating for the growth of businesses owned by people of color, this ruling hits close to home. It is disheartening to witness the potential negative impact on a vibrant community that contributes billions of dollars to the American economy.
However, this decision will only strengthen my resolve to ensure that all minority businesses have the economic dignity to achieve the American dream and reach our goal of achieving $1 trillion in annual revenue for our certified MBEs. NMSDC will continue its over 50-year legacy of advocating for access to the American dream for minority business enterprises (MBEs). Our success is historic and unmatched, connecting over 15,000 MBEs to more than 1,700 corporations, resulting in $482.1 billion in economic output annually, sustaining 1.8 million jobs, with $136.4 billion in total wages earned.
The detrimental effects of racial inequality extend beyond the affected communities. A recent study by Citi revealed that $16 trillion has been erased from U.S. GDP over the past two decades due to discrimination. This study emphasizes that racial inequality has tangible and significant impacts on our country’s economic output, affecting us all.
We call upon business leaders, policymakers, and advocates to join us in addressing the challenges presented by this ruling and working towards a more equitable and inclusive society. Together, we can dismantle systemic barriers, promote diversity and inclusion, and unlock the full potential of systematically excluded people of color and minority businesses for the benefit of all.
CEO and President