Metro Atlanta Chamber hosts second annual ATL Action for Racial Equity Summit 

October 13, 2023

The 2023 ATL Action for Racial Equity Summit highlighted the work the metro Atlanta region is doing to advance racial equity. It also shared best practices and lessons learned through panel discussions and dialogue with speakers and attendees from the initiative’s committed companies and community partners.

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On Monday, October 9, business and community leaders gathered at the Metro Atlanta Chamber for the second annual ATL Action for Racial Equity Summit. The summit highlights the collective progress made by the more than 260 companies that have committed to the ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative. It also provides an intentional forum for sharing valuable insights and lessons learned.   

Southern Company’s President and CEO Chris Womack kicked off the event by addressing the need for sustained strategies that address corporate DEI needs, emphasizing that this work cannot be episodic. Michael Baptiste, Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, then gave an update on AARE’s 2023 progress, highlighting the following progress points from the 2023 ATL Action for Racial Equity Assessment:  

  • 95% of the committed companies have taken measurable steps to reduce barriers to entry in their hiring processes.  
  • 59% of committed companies offer early post-secondary experiential opportunities for Metro Atlanta students to cultivate meaningful relationships in underserved communities.  

The annual Assessment tracks progress across ATL Action for Racial Equity’s four key pillars: Corporate Policies, Inclusive Economic Development, Education, and Workforce Development. 

This year’s summit included a series of panels grounded in these four key pillars. Committed companies and DEI professionals shared a wealth of candid thoughts for attendees to consider as they continue on their own journeys toward racial equity. Two overarching takeaways: 

  • DEI is still a priority for companies committed to the ATL Action for Racial Equity initiative.  
  • The road to racial equity is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires patience and empathy. 

Highlights from each panel include the following: 

Corporate Policies 

  • Intentionality around representation, recruitment, and retention is the key to advancing diverse talent in the corporate ranks. 

Inclusive Economic Development 

  • Entrepreneurs of color need support in eliminating access barriers, specifically with respect to funding, resources, customers, and knowledge. 


  • Students of color show increased potential when they have the right resources and opportunities. Providing equitable access to higher education through financial and academic support is the primary way to close the gap in academic potential. 

Workforce Development 

  • There is a huge, untapped pool of talent that companies can leverage by implementing or augmenting second-chance hiring.  

Read more about ATL Action for Racial Equity and access the playbooks on advancing racial equity here