top of page


Center for Equity and Inclusive Leadership


urban league state of black chattanooga booklet 2022 FINAL REDUCE FILE SIZE_Page_01.jpg

Since 1976, The National Urban League (NUL) has produced State of Black America® the signature annual reporting of the National Urban League and one of the most highly-anticipated benchmarks and sources for thought leadership around racial equality in America across economics, employment, education, health, housing, criminal justice and civic participation.

Now, the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga will produce its own inaugural State of Black Chattanooga report inclusive of national, state and local data, research and stories to help inform community stakeholders on the challenges faced by many in the Black community with a goal of advancing racial equity on a number of quality of life and economic indicators. We believe that a report curated reflecting the Black experience, led by a minority-serving institution will play a vital role in creating a sustained path toward addressing longstanding racial disparities in our community.

The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga launched a new Center for Equity and Inclusive Leadership (CEIL) in 2021 with the primary goal of engaging and empowering diverse community members around social and racial equity and inclusive leadership development.  The work of the ULGC’s Center for Equity and Inclusive Leadership will transform the way our community addresses racial and social inequities through policies, principles and programming to prepare for Chattanooga’s Inclusive future. The CEIL will house the Urban League’s current Inclusion By Design Executive Leadership program, mid-career professionals pilot, ULGC Young Professionals (YP), advocacy and civic engagement initiatives. Over the course of 2021, The Urban League’s CEIL will coordinate and host a series of racial equity workshops and discussions with the goal of making these learning opportunities widely accessible to residents and leaders across the community.


Background: The Racial Equity Institute (REI) is an alliance of trainers, organizers, and institutional leaders devoted to creating racially equitable organizations and systems. REI’s training programs are designed to help individuals, organizations, and communities grow their understanding and analysis of structural racism, along with its cultural and historic roots in the United States and the world.

Measuring Racial Equity: A Groundwater Approach 

3 Hour Foundational REI Training



This workshop is an interactive presentation on the nature and impact of structural racism and what it looks like across institutions. We examine narratives around racial disproportionality and make use of compelling research data to illustrate the systemic nature of racism and the fallacy of typical explanations like poverty, education, social class, individual behavior, or cultural attributes that are often associated with particular racial groups. Before addressing racial inequity or perceived acts of discrimination or oppression, it is critical to understand what institutional racism looks like and the devastating impact it wields on our nation’s people, economy and social institutions. The Groundwater Approach teaches how to use data to measure the systemic impact of racism and to track institutional change.


In this virtual webinar, REI organizers will use stories and data to present a perspective that racism is fundamentally structural in nature. By examining characteristics of modern-day racial inequity, the presentation introduces participants to an analysis that most find immediately helpful and relevant. The Groundwater metaphor is designed to help practitioners at all levels internalize the reality that we live in a racially structured society, and that that is what causes racial inequity. The metaphor is based on three observations:


  1. Racial inequity looks the same across systems,

  2. Socio-economic difference does not explain the racial inequity; and,

  3. Inequities are caused by systems, regardless of people’s culture or behavior.

2-Day REI Foundational Training


9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST



The Racial Equity Institute’s (REI) two-day Phase I training is designed to develop the capacity of participants to understand racism in its institutional and structural forms. Moving the focus from individual bigotry and bias, the REI Phase I workshop presents a historical, cultural, structural and institutional analysis of racism.


With a clear understanding of how institutions, systems, and culture are producing unjust and inequitable outcomes, participants are better equipped to work for change. Phase I builds the capacity of participants to identify the root causes of disparity and establish goals and strategies based on that deeper understanding. Participants develop an analysis of institutional racism that helps their organization develop a common understanding of the problem and a common language to address it. This paradigm shifting experience redefines issues of equity as they manifest in systems and institutions today and the attendant actions of individuals who seek to address them.

Community Culture Index 

On May 5, 2023 Hinton & Company, in partnership with the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga released the region’s first highly-localized, data-driven assessment tool — Community Culture Index which aims to measure how well employers in the community are incorporating inclusive practices into their workplaces in a quantifiable and objective way. Inclusive practices refer to policies, behaviors, and actions that help create a culture of belonging and fairness for all and can contribute to an organization’s ability to attract and retain high-performing employees, develop new products, and reach new market segments. 


The Community Culture Index surveyed small businesses, government agencies, nonprofits and major employers from throughout the Chattanooga region on a range of topics. The survey aimed to determine whether these organizations are adopting leading inclusive practices in areas such as recruiting, hiring, strategic plans, and partnerships.

To learn more about Hinton & Co and request additional details about the report:
bottom of page