Legal and Business Practices: One Station on the Underground Railroad

Tynesia Boyea
3 min readJan 31, 2024
Photo by Jesse Mills on Unsplash

In my piece last month, I talked about how we need a modern “Underground Railroad” to keep our movement for racial equity in business alive during the extreme backlash that began last year and will only continue to grow this year. This Underground Railroad is made up of people like you — all of the individuals across industries and sectos who are working towards a better and more inclusive economy for all. We all play our part — some of us are outside, shouting from the rooftops; some of us are quietly toiling and pushing where it’s needed within companies and organizations; some of us are working behind the scenes to make connections and maintain momentum.

CapEQ will share glimpses throughout the year of the many roles and routes we meet in our travels along the Underground Railroad. We hope to encourage you to find and build from these “stations” and join us towards the destination of economic prosperity and justice.

One “station” where CapEQ has made frequent stops is at the intersection of sound legal and business practice in light of multiple attacks on racially equitable institutional programs and policies. Below are a few folks we listen to closely whenever we make stops at this station.

Farhana Khera, FYK Consulting
Farhana is an accomplished civil rights lawyer and provides practical and responsive guidance on everything from racial equity investment strategies to civil rights audits. She is deeply grounded in movement work particularly for marginalized and targeted populations. Farhana marries her passion with airtight analysis, multifaceted legal expertise, and savvy stakeholder engagement. As the backlash to ESG and DEI grows, she is helping companies and organizations navigate the increasing roadblocks to equitable practices and policies.

Evan Feeney, Color of Change
For the past decade, Evan has been an innovative leader in the racial justice movement leading efforts like the successful campaign for Meta to undergo a Civil Rights Audit. Evan is inspiring not only for his willingness to fight, but also for his commitment to partnership and problem solving. His example reminds us to hold ourselves accountable to the communities who have been harmed for too long due to institutional inequity while simultaneously being innovative and proactive in the shifting legal environment.

Mahlet Getachew, PolicyLink
In her role as Managing Director of Corporate Racial Equity, Mahlet is working to ignite the racial equity movement more broadly and deeply within corporate America, leading a portfolio of strategic initiatives, including co-founding the Corporate Racial Equity Alliance with FSG and JUST Capital and leading a multi-year effort to develop corporate performance standards on racial and economic equity. Mahlet combines her extensive legal expertise with strategy and vision in ways that are accessible and responsive to cross-sector audiences.

These are only a few of the many people who are meeting this moment, and we encourage you to share your stories about others in the comments. This is the power of coalition building. It helps you sustain the work, regardless of what comes your way. As we make more stops along the Underground Railroad this year, we’ll see how the power of coalitions and stakeholder engagement keeps the trains running.

Whatever your role is on the Underground Railroad, we’re glad to have you on board. Let’s see what we discover as we head down the tracks.

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Tynesia Boyea

People grower, resource magnet, and translator committed to values-driven entrepreneurship. Read more at www.tyboyea.com.