TRHT founder and United Way of Metro Chicago to call for business leaders to make racially equitable investments

CHICAGO-On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the founder of Truth, Healing & Racial Transformation (TRHT) will join with United Way (UW) of Metro Chicago to call on business leaders to address racial inequality.

Dr. Gail Christopher and UW of Metro Chicago CEO Sean Garrett will share a fireside chat during the King Day breakfast, broadcast via Zoom. They will talk about the responsibility Chicago's business community has to implement policies that bring about economic justice. Jose A. Rico, director of TRHT Greater Chicago, will moderate the conversation.

The event will take place on Monday January 18, 2021 at 8:30 a.m.

Dr. Christopher created the TRHT framework 10 years ago. A social worker by trade, she based TRHT on the South African Truth and Reconciliation model from the end of the apartheid era. The grassroots movement has now touched Americans from all walks of life.

"She is a visionary who has been doing this work for decades," said Rico.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a stark contrast between the fortunes of white communities and communities of color, said Rico. One contrast was in the way different communities have fared economically. Overall, Rico said majority-white communities have been able to work from home and thus maintain employment while staying safe.

USA Facts, a non-partisan agency that assesses government data, reports that Black and Latinx workers are most likely to work in industries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as leisure and hospitality.

Many of those who stay employed tend to work in essential occupations that bring them into contact with greater numbers of people.

Rico said that the conversation with Dr. Christopher and Garrett will highlight how Chicago's business community can change its practices to distribute resources more equitably to Black and Brown neighborhoods.

He also wants to see businesses do more. Neighborhoods that are more desirable are the result of intentional choices, Rico said. He sees the difference in the quality of "housing, parks, stores and amenities," adding that, "companies that decide on investment cannot ignore Black and Brown neighborhoods anymore."

UW Greater Chicago expects 200-300 companies to be represented at the breakfast, Rico said.