By Matthew Berger, Director of Communications
The Dallas Regional Chamber (DRC) hosted its first Young Professionals (YP) Community Conversations: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at its downtown offices on June 23.
“DEI is core to our mission,” said Daniela Ramirez, the DRC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager. “We commit to work every day to build a more inclusive community, to advance equitable opportunities for all, and to address systemic racism and other forms of discrimination head-on.”
YP members listened as Kendall Hill of This Is Project Texas, Prisma Garcia of MoneyGram International, Alejandra Saldaña of Jubilee Park and Community Center, and Mariano Pintor, an advertising executive raised in Oak Cliff, discussed their DEI work in the Dallas Region. Gene Mance of AT&T was the panel’s moderator.
The panelists discussed their focus areas in the community and how they’re trying to advance change.
“I view Dallas as an epicenter for the state and the nation,” Hill said. “We need more communities that are engaged and have equity in their community.”
Another topic of conversation was health care.
“Not having access to a provider to catch issues early on is a huge issue,” Saldaña said. “In Southeast Dallas, there are 54 physicians for every 100,000 people. The national average is 225 physicians per 100,000 people.”
Garcia and Saldaña, who were born in Dallas, were called to activism early in life.
“I always wanted to come back and make a difference in my community,” Garcia said. “It might not have been the hip place to be, but I was called to make a difference. Don’t get out of the rough. Come back to the rough and fix it.”
How can the business community and young professionals help the under-resourced?
“Have deep conversations, be upfront and real, and acknowledge your privileges,” Garcia added. “It is not what we can give; it’s what we can give up. I think it’s also recognizing there are true assets in the community.”
Pintor said: “I challenge you to think about someone completely opposite of you. Do some research on your own and think outside your comfort zone.”
The next YP event will be YP Get on Board on Thursday, Aug. 18. The event will show how YPers can get on local nonprofit boards. For information and how to become a Young Professional, email email@example.com.
The DRC’s Young Professionals is an emerging group of future leaders who are committed to leadership development, public policy, and community engagement.