Reflecting on recent racial strife, National Credit Union Administration Chairman Rodney Hood on Tuesday called on Americans to have “difficult conversations” about diversity and inclusion in their communities.
“Individually and collectively, we can make a difference — one conversation and relationship at a time,” Hood said.
In a statement calling for “justice, healing and peace” in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Hood reflected on his experiences as an African American in the banking industry.
“In my banking career, I’ve attended conferences and professional events where I was the only man of color in the room,” he said. “I’ve shown up early to speak on a panel discussion, and people were surprised to learn that I was a participant. “
Hood said he recalls having conversations with his father about how to engage with police officers when he was pulled over, adding that his mother performed safety checks on his car before he went out on weekends to make sure that signal and brake lights were operating.
“In 2020, I find myself having similar conversations with my young African-American cousins,” he said. “As an African American man, I am shocked and appalled and share the heartbreak of many in the black community. I am all too familiar with the anger and frustration that comes with the everyday challenges and realities surrounding race.”
Hood reiterated that one of his top priorities as chairman is financial inclusion, adding that he also called for the creation of the agency’s Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion Council. “Diversity is important, but without cultural change that encourages true inclusion, it risks being little more than checking the right boxes,” he added.