The Honorable Eugene “Gus” Newport, Radical Results Mentor Vonda Page and Clemmie Greenlee of Nashville Peacemakers held a powerful conversation at Kingdom Cafe´ on Jefferson Street. Photo by Lisa Abell

By Ashley Benkarksi

NASHVILLE, TN — Nashville’s Kingdom Cafe´ will be the site of a social justice symposium hosted November 15-17 by Vonda Page, Radical Results Mentor.

The symposium, coined DUMP DEI, is built around the core concept that Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs aren’t working as advertised, and often aren’t led by the voices they claim to include. Further, Page said, DEI programs should not only look like their workforce but should agitate on behalf of workers’ interests, such as receiving living wages. “DEI work is disruptive (in nature), and there’s at least some distribution of power, “ she explained.

Page asks: “Why, in 60 years since the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963, have we made only incremental changes?

The evidence of the struggle is right here:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

ERA passed in 1971

Anti-Discrimination Act of 1979

Equal Opportunity Act of 1995

The Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009

ERA Ratified Feb 10, 2022

How much more do we need to see that our approach is piecemeal and slow?”

Instead the goal must be alleviating anti-Blackness, from the C-suite to schools and nonprofit boards. 

Page, who has worked in the corporate realm managing teams for over three decades, traveled to Nashville from Portland, Oregon on a ‘discovery tour’ to hear first-hand from local social justice-oriented organizers and community members about the legacy of Nashville and the state of Music City’s commitment to DEI, and how it is — or isn’t— delivering on its promises.

Her mission is “To leave a legacy of 1,000 people whom she moved from Leader to Legend—Within 15 months.”

Page met with Nashville’s own Clemmie Greenlee (Nashville Peacemakers, Mothers Over Murder) as well as the Honorable Gus Newport, former Mayor of Berkeley, Calif. for a roundtable discussion at All People Coffee and Beverage Hall Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Newport is well-known for his activism during the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, and his efforts to help rebuild New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. 

The DUMP DEI Symposium is an open invitation for DEI decision-makers to collaborate with one another and make a meaningful transformation in their programs.

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