Across the country, here in Detroit, and within all of the Ilitch companies, the important issues of diversity, equality and inclusion continue to take center stage. Over the years, the Ilitch companies have sought to address these issues through a variety of efforts, including the employment of a diverse workforce, various training programs for employees, and partnering with organizations such as the Michigan Diversity Council, the MLB’s Diversity Fellowship Program and the NHL’s Social Impact, Growth Initiatives & Legislative Affairs team. We are committed to using our resources and reach to foster greater inclusion and understanding.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are thoughtfully evaluating our policies and practices and are continuing to listen, learn and explore new efforts for the betterment of our employees, organization and community.
Following the recent meeting with Mayor Duggan, Rev. Anthony of the NAACP and other business leaders, the Ilitch companies took immediate action, including:
- Conducting a series of listening sessions were conducted with leaders and colleagues throughout the organization. These conversations were open, invaluable and instructive, covering topics such as recruitment and hiring, career development, training and other important issues.
- Forming a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force comprised of colleagues from across the Ilitch companies with the goal of making sustainable improvements within our organization.
- Expanding our partnerships with experts like the Michigan Diversity Council (MIDC). Task force members will complete the MIDC’s 2020 East Virtual DiversityFIRST™ Certification Program, designed to help companies create and implement highly successful diversity and inclusion strategies for organizational excellence.
- Working together with the MLB and the NHL, respectively, the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings took visible actions to implement and localize league-led initiatives:
- At the Detroit Tigers home opener, Tigers players and uniformed personnel wore Detroit Roots t-shirts with the message “I Root for Equality.” The Tigers opening line-up was announced by representatives from the Detroit Branch of The NAACP Youth Council and The GM Rainbow PUSH Scholars. During the middle of the 7th inning, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals players paused for a moment of silence and reflection in support of equality, inclusion and social justice, followed by an “Equality” video shown on the Comerica Park scoreboard.
- More recently, the Tigers celebrated the MLB Negro Leagues’ 100th anniversary with programs aimed at honoring the rich history of the leagues and providing opportunities for Tigers fans of all ages to learn more.
- During the Tigers game against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 26, we again had a moment of silence during the 7th inning stretch and posted an equality message on the scoreboard reflecting the MLB’s “United for Change” initiative. Additional league-led initiatives are in the works for topics on voter education, the women’s equality and more.
- The Detroit Red Wings remain committed to the NHL’s year-round Hockey is for Everyone platform, celebrating equality and inclusion within the sport of hockey. And this approach to creating fair and just opportunities doesn’t solely live within Hockey is for Everyone. Through their groundbreaking Learn, Play, Score platform announced in February 2020, the Red Wings, NHL and NHLPA are also breaking down systemic barriers by introducing equitable access to hockey in various forms for thousands of children across Detroit. In partnership with respected local organizations and revered Detroiters — the late Marlowe Stoudamire and current Learn, Play, Score Ambassador Jason McCrimmon — children of all races, ages and abilities in the city of Detroit are now experiencing the social, emotional and educational benefits of hockey — many of them for the first time.
- The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted the Black community and in response we prioritized our efforts to help those most in need by donating thousands of masks to Detroit senior centers, non-profit organizations, and children’s groups. More information can be found here.
Racial gaps exist in our society. Business leaders have an opportunity to address them. As we take a careful look within our own organization, the Ilitch companies are committed to living up to the very best of our ideals and enacting policies and practices, that will positively impact our employees, our organization and our community for years to come.