Outline of hearts created by hands of diverse people

This year, February’s Black History Month felt different – perhaps because of the recent rounds of layoffs that have gutted DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) departments and programs. Twitter’s DEI team shrunk from 30 people to two, confirming analysis from workforce data company Revelio Labs, finding a 33% churn rate for DEI-related roles in February, much higher than the 21% for non-DEI roles.

This isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, time that DEI is on the chopping block. But it raises a broader question: What could it look like to break this pattern? How can organizational leaders continue to pursue DEI in an economically-constrained environment?

One answer to that question is to center the needs of the group that tends to face the most barriers in the workplace. That tends to be women of color, and often Black women in particular. “Centering” reflects an idea from the economist Janelle Jones, who in 2020 coined an economic principle that she called “Black women best.”

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