Companies say they're committed to fighting racism and bringing equality to their organizations. Black business owners have advice for how to make that a reality, and white CEOs share what changes they plan to make in their workplaces.

In an unprecedented break from the routine avoidance of political issues, major brands across the country have pledged their commitment and their resources to fight racism in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and many other Black people by police.

In Columbus, some 750 organizations including the leaders of the city’s largest private sector companies signed a letter to City Council declaring racism a public health crisis. The group of supporters has grown beyond 3,000 and represents a major departure from the sideline sentiments of the past. With businesses putting themselves out there to advance racial justice and equality—supporting employees attending protests and wearing Black Lives Matter garb—many have asked: Now what are these large corporations going to actually do to create meaningful change?

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Here’s what a few CEOs had to say on the topic, and what some Black business owners say would help everyone succeed going forward.

Courtnee Carrigan
CEO and executive trainer, Raising the Bar Performance Group and project manager for Franklin County’s Blueprint to Reduce Poverty

Kirt Walker
CEO, Nationwide

Ebony Igwebuike-Tye
Serial entrepreneur and real estate agent

Marlon Platt
Founder, Marlon Anthony Events and co-owner of Our Bar & Lounge, Olde Towne East

Barb Smoot
CEO, Women for Economic and Leadership Development

Dr. Hal Paz
Executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs, Ohio State University and CEO, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Nick Akins
Chairman, president and CEO, American Electric Power

Freweini Alemayoh and Moses Hayelom
Mother and son, co-owners with daughter Winta of Wintana’s Salon & Spa and Flavor 91 Bistro, Whitehall

Katy Smith is editor of Columbus CEO.