Commitment To Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism Initiative
In response to the demands for social and economic justice in 2020, AACUC invited organizations within the credit union movement throughout the United States and abroad to join the effort to eliminate racism through the Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism Initiative. In addition to the time, expertise, and resources that numerous credit unions and industry organizations have already contributed to AACUC, the credit union movement is making new financial investments that will have a long-term impact for our employees, our members, and the communities that we serve.
Our Commitment to Change Initiative is moving forward in four key arenas, with a major emphasis of DEI training and financial inclusion offerings for our members and corporate partners.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the credit union industry allows us to lead by example in the communities that we serve. From the boardroom to our tellers, our people make the difference and our diversity is our strength. Our signature DEI-related programs include the monthly Commitment to Change Conversations, and the DEI Academy for Financial Services Professionals. Our Commitment to Change series has featured young professionals as well as legends in the credit union movement. We hosted a panel featuring League Presidents in December 2020.
We Advocate for Financial Inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked, which is consistent with our ability as credit unions to offer access to fairly-priced financial services for individuals with lower earnings. Immediate Past NCUA Chairman Rodney Hood stated in 2020 that financial inclusion is the civil rights issue of our time.
We are Closing the Racial Wealth Gap through sponsoring outreach tools that assist credit unions in better communicating with low-income of color, and by leveraging relationships with organizations such as the African-American forum at the American College of Financial Services.
We Have Community Involvement initiatives supporting the advancement of low-income communities of color through youth development and financial literacy. We have joined with Asset Builders, Better Investing and other community partners to deliver a Summer Stock Market Game for middle school and high school aged students, and to create local investment clubs.
Two of our signature Commitment to Change programs launched in 2020 include:
Commitment to Change Conversation Series: Creating a safe space for AACUC members to have “real talk” on the emotional and psychological impact of current events and how to bring about sustainable change. In the ongoing series of virtual conversations, topics have included the impact of police brutality, the fears of being profiled, what it’s like to experience microaggressions, and the reality of trauma that can happen to an individual and/or groups as a result of oppression.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion Leadership Academy for Financial Professionals (DEI Academy): To further illuminate DEI among credit unions, AACUC’s interactive program will be offered four times a year, inviting in-depth exploration of diversity, equity, inclusion, and how to better understand the nuances of racism.
Our initiative, Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism, focuses on unification, education, conversations, and investments that will move the credit union movement into a future where diversity, equity and inclusion can thrive. Many AACUC partners have stepped up to join the Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism including key support from credit unions, leagues, and CUSOs.