Racial injustice in the corporate world became a huge hot button topic last year following the social unrest that brewed over the summer. To help solve America’s problem, Emory University launched a special competition initiative.
According to a press release, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School launched the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition to examine how corporate companies can properly address the issues of racial inequality within their organizations.
The idea to create a business case competition — led by MBA student Willie Sullivan — stemmed from the police violence that led to the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery last year.
After seeing the many corporate statements on racial injustice being released, Sullivan wondered what the aftermath looked like and how companies planned on addressing these issues directly.
Sullivan then spoke to several fellow Goizueta MBA students, and found that many of them wished to get involved in the cause but needed some direction.
With this in mind, Sullivan came up with a plan to create this first-of-its-kind case competition — named after the late Atlanta Congressman — to focus on the matters of racial inequality in corporate settings.
A press release reports that companies such as Walmart, Salesforce, HP, Johnson & Johnson, Southern Company, and Truist Bank have all joined the competition as corporate partners to offer financial support and also serve as models for investigating structural racism.
Ahead of the John R. Lewis Racial Justice Case Competition, teams from 52 universities across the country — including Harvard, Yale, Wharton, Northwestern, UC-Berkeley, and others — submitted a total of 105 applications to be considered.
Twenty-four teams have since made it to the semi-finals, and on the day of the competition — Jan. 21, 2021 — those teams will be narrowed down to six finalists by a group of judges with backgrounds in diversity, equity, and inclusion representing corporate America, non-profits, and higher education.
Those six finalists will then compete for $40,000 in prizes with a goal to create opportunities of education and action on behalf of their organization, while analyzing different areas including wealth, health, and education in relation to racial inequality.
Sullivan’s vision for the competition aims to engage multiracial and ethnic teams to create long-term resolutions and actions that have the power to resolve corporate America’s issue with race.
“Long term, my dream is that because someone took part in this competition and was able to research and understand issues of racial inequality and injustice at a deeper level, that person makes those learnings a part of their decision-making process when they are in a leadership position,” Sullivan said in a press statement.
For more information about the upcoming case competition, click here.