1968.

 

It was the watershed year of the 20th Century; a year fraught with protests, tragedies and advancements. More than half of Americans alive today weren't even born then, yet they live in the shadow of its legacy.

 

In Vietnam, the Tet Offensive signified the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement in the war; at the Summer Olympics, two black medalists raised their fists in silent protest against racial discrimination in the United States; Star Trek aired American television's first interracial kiss; Boeing introduced the first 747, and a manned spacecraft orbited the moon for the first time. It also was a year in which war protesters at the Democratic National Convention clashed with police in the streets of Chicago and Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

 

But it was the devastation caused by the 1968 riots in Chicago that followed the tragic death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis that prompted top business leaders to discuss solutions to local economic instability and racial unrest in the city. Chicago United was the result.

 

For 50 years, Chicago United has maintained the dialogue among multiracial senior leadership driving corporate and minority-owned businesses, civic and non-profit leadership in the common goal of creating a stronger social and economic climate for all races.

 

Our membership ranges from emerging businesses to Fortune 500 companies and includes some of Chicago's brightest leaders who collaborate around a common goal of a creating a stronger, more inclusive, business climate for all races. The Chicago business community is taking the lead in making our socio-economic climate even stronger through racial equity.

 

Our membership includes many of Chicago’s brightest leaders who collaborate around a common goal of a creating a stronger, more inclusive, business climate for all races. The Chicago business community is taking the lead in making our socio-economic climate even stronger through racial equity.

 

Chicago United’s mission is to achieve parity in economic opportunity for people of color by advancing multiracial leadership in corporate governance, executive level management, and business diversity.

 

Our initiatives and research provide tangible data, tools, and insights needed to further transform Chicago into one of the most inclusive business ecosystems in the nation. 

 

The world has changed a lot since 1968, but in many ways the struggles are still the same. In our 50th Anniversary year, we invite the Chicago business community to come together in solidarity to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion. Two wonderful opportunities for that include our open-to-the-public Chicago Unites concert with the Chicago Sinfonietta, which took place on Sept. 5, and our 50th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 2 at the Hilton Chicago.

 

If your organization is not one of our member companiesfind out how you can become a member

 

And, if you are a member company, thank you. We couldn’t have navigated the last 50 years without you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gloria Castillo

President and Chief Executive Officer 

Chicago United