EDITOR'S NOTE: In an employee memo on Monday, CEO Ed Bastian shared progress we have made on our commitment to be an anti-racist, anti-discrimination organization.
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Ed Bastian to Delta Colleagues Worldwide

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This day of remembrance and reflection comes at a time when our society and culture are in great need of his wisdom and his teachings on healing and unity.

Like many organizations, the global reckoning over racial inequity and injustice spurred us to take a deeper look at our own record on diversity, equity and inclusion. The truth in our findings confirmed that we needed to strengthen and accelerate our plans to truly live up to our shared values of opportunity, fairness and respect for all.

Last August, I shared our plan highlighting some of the initial actions Delta would take as part of our commitment to be an anti-racist, anti-discrimination organization. In the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy of action, I’d like to share an update on the progress we have made, which includes:

  • Creating a more equitable talent experience. We’ve enhanced hiring practices to reduce bias in job descriptions and qualifications, introducing hiring manager training to ensure fair and inclusive interviews, and improved reporting to monitor diversity in our candidates and hires. We are giving equal consideration for accessible experience or certifications as part of our commitment to remove unnecessary barriers – such as college degrees – to certain roles. And our “Diversity Super Day” in December focused on increasing representation in our MBA pipeline, while our new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion University Recruiting Council is helping us expand opportunities for future Black professionals, including those from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Closing diversity gaps in representation. Taking a hard look at our own record, we’ve continued to disaggregate data to improve our diversity in underrepresented areas. That includes increasing the diversity of our leaders, beginning in Atlanta, to better reflect the teams they lead. With this in mind, we remain committed to doubling the percent of Black Officers and Directors, along with growing the percent of other Minority and Female Officers. We’re measuring our progress with the goal of improving on a year-over-year basis through 2025 and beyond.
  • Sunsetting the Ready Reserve program to provide more equitable access to Delta benefits, including health care. Access to health care is a significant equity lever. That’s why all Ready Reserves will become benefit-eligible Customer Service Agents starting this July while maintaining a seasonal workforce to support the operation.
  • Joining OneTen as a founding member, a coalition creating 1 million jobs for Black Americans over 10 years. Delta is creating new opportunities for advancement by working shoulder to shoulder with more than 30 other companies to recruit, hire, train and advance Black talent.
  • Expanded our partnership with Operation Hope to support their One Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative. This new program is designed to create 1 million new Black business owners by 2030. Additionally, in our expanded partnership, Operation Hope will provide Delta people resources to promote financial empowerment and inclusion.
  • Creating more opportunities for underrepresented groups through BOLD, our Black Business Resource Group. BOLD’s work to expand our partnership with Atlanta Public Schools will focus on leadership, innovation and technology to level the playing field within APS and surrounding districts. Delta’s strengthened career accelerator program will also provide BRG officers and diverse talent with development pathways in 2021.
  • Launched our enhanced Inclusion Training experience. Our latest evolution of inclusion training is set to reach every employee by 2022. Over 20,000 Delta employees have already participated in the learning assignments, and divisional plans have been mapped out so all 75,000 Delta teams will follow suit soon.
  • Bolstered diverse business owners through several new initiatives. Delta is donating up to 50 million SkyBonus points to diverse organizations, focusing on women- and minority-owned businesses. We’re also working with the National Minority Supplier Development Council to partner with diverse suppliers in areas critical to our recovery, like Delta’s Global Cleanliness organization. Delta is also partnering with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council to sponsor a woman of color initiative this year.

While we can be proud of the work we’ve done thus far, I know there is a long road ahead before we achieve our goal of being a more diverse, equitable and anti-racist organization. This is a journey, and I will continue to update you on our progress moving forward.

Please know that I hold myself personally accountable for reaching our goals. I want to thank the members of our Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion team as well as the members of BOLD for their leadership, guidance and hard work on the actions we are taking, and will continue to take, as we move forward. And thanks to all of our people who are taking steps every day, large and small, to make our airline and our communities more just and equitable for all.

I know many of you are volunteering in your communities today in Dr. King’s honor, while many others are working in the operation taking care of our customers and our colleagues. Thank you for your hard work and effort. I ask everyone to take a few minutes today to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy and the role we play at Delta in building understanding and empathy by connecting people around the world.

As we move forward together through this difficult period in our history, these words from Dr. King continue to inspire me:

“I do not think of political power as an end. Neither do I think of economic power as an end. They are ingredients in the objective that we seek in life. And I think that end of that objective is a truly brotherly society, the creation of the beloved community.”


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