3 minute read

Indy leaders Tamara Cypress and Bob Schultz were problem solvers well before the pandemic hit, but the dual challenges of COVID-19 and the racial justice crisis put their skills into overdrive, resulting in the creation of two new powerful entities: Black Businesses Matter/Indy Accompliceship and the Downtown Indy Recovery Taskforce.

Tamara and Bob led Shoff Chats participants in a discussion around how these initiatives are driving both economic recovery and progress toward equity in Indianapolis, efforts that go hand-in-hand as the city works to re-emerge as stronger and better. They shared five tips for Indy individuals and organizations that want to contribute:     

Don’t “Wait for Perfection”

All individuals and organizations have work to do, particularly in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion – don’t let that stop you or your company from committing to positive progress and action today. You may face criticism, but seeing it as an opportunity for listening, growth and increased accountability helps criticism feel productive rather than destructive. 

Leverage Personal Strengths to Make an Impact

The concept of skills-based volunteering is gaining traction – find a way to use your (or your organization’s) specific talents to contribute in relevant ways – especially to Black-owned businesses and/or businesses and organizations working to recover from the pandemic. Starting from a place where you know you can add value can also help overcome the desire to “wait for perfection.” 

Be Proactive

Bring your ideas and resources to the table; don’t just ask for them to be given to you. Skills-based volunteering can also help here – identify your strengths and plan how you’ll apply them – this ensures you can meaningfully contribute without placing additional burdens on vulnerable and marginalized people and businesses to identify needs and opportunities for you.

Evolve Your Allyship to Accompliceship

“Allies make statements, and accomplices take action.” The word ‘accomplice’ takes on a positive meaning here in the context of enabling change, and requires listening, humility, taking on risk, resiliency, learning and un-learning. This hard work is worth it for the tangible impact it can make. Consider taking the pledge to formalize your commitment. Learn more in these upcoming free workshops and informational sessions (60-90 minutes each):

Meeting ID: 846 6029 0700 | Passcode: accomplice

Meeting ID: 875 4587 6932 | Passcode: accomplice

Meeting ID: 824 5620 8623 | Passcode: accomplice

Meeting ID: 814 2303 9042 | Passcode: accomplice

Safely Support Downtown Indianapolis Recovery Efforts

The economic impact of COVID-19 and recent civil unrest has been acute in our community, but the Downtown Indy Recovery Taskforce has been hard at work to identify opportunities to safely rebuild downtown as an economic and cultural engine for our city and state.

  • Consult Black Businesses Matter to identify Black-owned companies to support as part of our economic recovery.
  • Wear a mask and practice safe social distancing at Arts Market on the Circle and other upcoming events.
  • Help now, enjoy later. Buying gift cards for Downtown Indy businesses is an easy way to provide immediate financial support with the flexibility of enjoying when and where you’re comfortable.
  • Be kind and be human. Try to remember we’re all in this together. 

For more information on these initiatives contact Downtown Indy and Black Businesses Matter/Indy Accompliceship.

Want to learn more about Shoff Chats? Check out other episodes here.