March 1, 2022

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. — The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alliance of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia (the DEI Alliance) was formed in 2021 and reaches across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Established as a non-profit, its purpose is to advocate for the principles and support the practice of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) so that the region can retain and attract a more diverse demographic of people to want to live, work and play in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

The DEI Alliance is announcing its signature programs for 2022. They are the “DEI Alliance Summit 2022: A Regional Call to Action”, and a regional relaunch of the Supporting Acceptance for Everyone (S.A.F.E.) program. The DEI Alliance’s first annual conference will be presented this year on Thursday, May 5. The regional event will be held at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center in Kingsport. The DEI Alliance Summit 2022 – A Call to Action will focus on starting the region on a journey toward the principles and practice of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which will lead to accelerated economic and community growth.

Quoting a strong supporter of the Alliance, Miles Burdine, president and CEO of the Kingsport Chamber says, “We can and must build toward success in retaining and attracting a more diverse demographic of people to want to make Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia their home. The DEI Alliance’s regional summit will be an excellent way to get started.”

The other 2022 initiative of the DEI Alliance is the relaunch and expansion of the Supporting Acceptance for Everyone (S.A.F.E.) program. The program will now be operated across the region of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, allowing community businesses and enterprises an opportunity to self-nominate and pledge to uphold the most basic principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Upon signing the S.A.F.E. pledge, the enterprise will be listed in a regional directory. They will also be provided with a decal and poster to be displayed in their premises promising that marginalized persons and their allies can support that enterprise with their shopping dollars while being welcome and safe. DEI Alliance Board member Dr. Katherine Barteck says, “We want the S.A.F.E. program to grow into a collection of gestures on every Main Street of every town in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia that says we live what we believe. Anyone and everyone is safe and welcome here.”

To register for the DEI Alliance Summit on May 5 or to get more information, please visit deialliance.org/2022-summit. To self-nominate or find out more about the S.A.F.E. program, please visit deialliance.org/SAFE. The DEI Alliance is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization serving eight counties of Northeast Tennessee (Washington, Carter, Sullivan, Unicoi, Hawkins, Greene, Hancock and Johnson), and four counties of Southwest Virginia (Lee, Scott, Washington and Wise).

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