Gov. Jared Polis and other business and public sector leaders plan to attend the Gaining Ground in the Black Community Summit, a four-day event that started Thursday to celebrate, empower and explore topics pertinent to the African-American community.
"We're going to be looking at housing, education and other areas of disparity,” said John Bailey of summit sponsor Colorado Black Round Table, according to Westword. “With the recent rash of shootings, we wanted to bring together folks from the Department of Public Safety, the police, the Denver DA's office and other folks who've been active in the community to talk about the issue relative to the impact on the community and families and young people. We want to look at services, programs and resources that might be able to address some of this stuff."
The summit was inspired by “Gaining Ground in Colorado’s African American Communities," a 2013 CBRT report. An analysis found that while measures of social progress — including college graduation rates and median family income —narrowed between white, black and Latino residents during the years of the civil rights movement, inequality has since grown.
Former Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks, vice president for business development and strategy at the Milender White construction company, said during a panel titled “Doing Business with and in the Black Community" that he tries to emphasize staff diversity, building employment pipelines out of the black community and working with minority-owned subcontractors.
“Equity doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t have action,” Brooks said. “We are going to start working with Community College of Denver in the construction management program. We want African-American construction managers, so we want to start developing them. Being able to go into the community, put on a fair for some of these jobs.”
The summit runs through Sunday at multiple locations in Denver. Admission is free. Other scheduled events include a U.S. Senate candidates’ forum, a discussion about youth and gun violence and a get-out-the-vote session.
Find more information about the summit by clicking here.