Dr. E’Lois Thomas, the President of SEEL (Solutions for Energy Efficient Logistics), a nationally certified minority business enterprise headquartered in Detroit and founded by business pioneer and chairman Louis James, has been invited to be a keynote speaker at this year’s conference on Affirmative Action and Economic Justice organized and hosted by The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s national and independent non-partisan anti-poverty think tank.
The poverty-themed conference will be held virtually this year on Thursday, September 14, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 pm and will feature solution-oriented keynote presentations and cutting-edge about how to address the salient issues of poverty and inequality in urban America including Detroit, one of the nation’s largest Black cities, and one of the most impoverished in the country.
Registration for the conference is now open on Eventbrite.
The September gathering is the Institute’s annual racial and economic justice conference for policy makers, scholars, industry captains and community advocates working towards creating an ethical economy that guarantees equality for all.
The theme for the 2023 conference “Unfinished Mandate: Affirmative Action and the Call to Champion Racial Equity and Economic Justice” in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Affirmative Action, one of the crucial programs that came out of the Civil Rights Movement.
In her role as a leader in the sustainability industry, Thomas serves as the vice-chair of Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA), is the President of the board for Advancing Women in Energy (AWE), a mentor with the Council of Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL), and a board member with BPI. She is also a prior board member with American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE – MI Chapter), and a member of the Association of Women in Energy.
In 2022, Thomas was recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as a Notable Leader in Sustainability and by Corp Magazine as a Leader in the Workplace Honoree.
“It is the responsibility and the privilege of those with a voice to make space for those without,” Thomas said. “When places of higher learning do not have students who reflect the diversity of the real world, knowledge seekers are directly harmed in their academic, professional, and personal pursuits.”
Attorney Tina M. Patterson, the President and Director of Research at The PuLSE Institute said adding diverse perspectives to the Affirmative Action debate is crucial.
“At The PuLSE Institute, we are honored to continue moving the needle forward by daring to confront and address the issues directly toward the ultimate goal of equality,” Patterson said. “African American businesses are critical in creating an equitable economy. That’s why it is important to keep the perspectives of businesses such as SEEL at the forefront of our solution-oriented conversations.”
Bankole Thompson the nationally renowned Black journalist and a standard-bearer for racial and economic justice issues, whose longstanding and influential work on race, democracy and poverty led to the founding of The PuLSE Institute five years ago, said no real conversation about the redeeming value of Affirmative Action could be held absent of Black-owned enterprises, who routinely face mounting difficulties in accessing contracting opportunities to level the economic playing field.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling on Affirmative Action does not only have an impact on Black and Brown students in colleges and universities. It is bound to reverberate in the corporate boardrooms because that is where decisions are made that could adversely impact the growth of African American businesses,” said Thompson, who serves as the executive dean of The PuLSE Institute, and is a twice-a-week opinion columnist at The Detroit News.
Thompson, who was recently elected to the National Board of Directors of the historic Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the signature civil rights organization founded by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who served as its first president, and which led the Civil Rights Movement, said “All hands must be on deck to ensure that the fall of Affirmative Action does not give a license to companies to choose exclusion over inclusion.”
Several prominent leaders are speaking at The PuLSE Institute conference including DTE Chairman and CEO Jerry Norcia, Michigan State University interim President Dr. Teresa Woodruff as is Erwin Chemerinsky, the internationally celebrated legal scholar and the dean of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, who is dubbed as the most influential person in legal education in the United States.
More speakers about next month’s conference will be announced in the days. For inquiries about the forum email email@example.com.