CHICAGO - Attorney General Kwame Raoul today, alongside 20 attorneys general, sent a letter to Fortune 100 companies in support of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. The letter is in response to a letter 13 Republican attorneys general sent to the companies in an attempt to undermine efforts to reduce racial inequities in corporate America by falsely claiming that programs to address racial disparity are unlawful.

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“These 13 Republican attorneys general, while cloaking their letter in a theme of colorblindness, have audaciously targeted programs aimed at helping African Americans gain access to economic opportunity,” Raoul said. “Diversity initiatives are not just laudable goals, they are also good for business. I have a deep commitment to working with private employers to help further diversity, equity and inclusion in Illinois, and I will continue to be an advocate and champion of civil rights and racial progress.”

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In today’s letter, Raoul and the coalition applaud corporate efforts to recruit diverse workforces and create inclusive work environments while encouraging the companies to double-down on diversity-focused programs. The letter also reiterates that such efforts are legal and reduce corporate risk for claims of discrimination, and that:

  • Corporate diversity programs are lawful and serve important public and business purposes.
  • Hollow claims of unlawful discrimination against white people at Fortune 100 companies do not change the fact that women and people of color continue to face barriers in the workplace.
  • The businesses and workers of America should not be intimidated into abandoning diversity goals at a time when they are more important than ever.

Raoul also addressed this issue in an op-ed published today by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Joining Raoul in signing the letter are attorneys general from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

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