Every autumn, the cable industry usually converges in Manhattan to discuss and advocate for practices that further diversity and inclusion across the media and entertainment landscape. While COVID-19 may have forced the activities of Diversity Week to go digital for a second year in a row, nothing could get in the way of the efforts that contribute to this important work.
Last night, NCTA President and CEO Michael Powell delivered an address at the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s Virtual Gathering, the event that this year replaced the traditional in-person fundraising dinner in Time Square. Powell focused his remarks on the ways COVID-19 has reminded us how much we depend on one another.
“The work of diversity and inclusion has only intensified during this strange and challenging period,” Powell stated. “COVID also attacks Blacks and Hispanics with particular venom, this disparity illuminates the persistent inequalities of American life. It strikes disproportionately, not because of biological or genetic susceptibility, but because of the enduring consequences of poverty, and the systematic racial disparities in housing and healthcare.”
He continued, “people of color are more likely to hold jobs that do not afford the luxury of remote work. And the inequality in the healthcare system and access to it increases the likelihood of serious illness and death.”
Beyond the Walter Kaitz Foundation event, Diversity Week 2021 also includes the WICT and NAMIC conferences. The theme of this year's WICT Conference is "Together We Shine, Together We Thrive," with featured speakers including MSNBC President Rashida Jones and CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour, and CEOs who will put forth best practices for advancing women to the highest levels of the business. NAMIC's conference theme is, "Removing Obstacles, Magnifying Opportunities," which is meant to encourage the start of conversations and actions that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.
As Diversity Week 2021 nears the end, one theme has become abundantly clear, as Powell eloquently put it in his speech at the Walter Kaitz Foundation Virtual Event, “as the pandemic is proving with ruthless efficiency, we humans are unbreakably interdependent…our wellbeing is inextricably intertwined, we cannot expect to improve our lives if we don’t improve the lives of others, too.”