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Black experience: NorthJersey.com readers hope to combat racism with conversation

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Danielle Reed just completed her first major project for her job, a diversity intelligence series report. It was a project she worked on tirelessly with her manager.


She was excited to share her accomplishment with her network on Linkedin. Minutes after hitting send on her post she was fired.


The decision was relayed to Reed through a video call with her boss.


The Syracuse alumni was initially hired in February as a Communications Analyst, Diversity & Inclusion, and Corporate Social Responsibility, a team that consisted of two people including Reed. 


"For three months, I became the victim of microaggressions, bias, and discrimination as one of the only full-time Black associates on the Diversity and Inclusion team at the company of 45,000 employees worldwide," Reed said.


"It can be really depressing," she said.


Reed said there were instances that included bosses' speaking poorly about other Black employees and her own supervisor declining an invitation that Reed received to a Black History Month Event. Reed said she was also excluded from weekly meetings.


"I clearly made them feel uncomfortable with my questions about diversity and inclusion training and emails reporting microaggressions," Reed said.


On the day of her termination, Reed received a severance package and was presented with an agreement that asked that she would not sue the company. Reed saw that as an admittance the company knew what they did was wrong.


"My manager retaliated against me after I sent an email to our team with links to articles about microaggressions in May," she said. "I reported my manager’s biased comments and other actions."


Reed has since filed ethics complaints and reached out to the CEO and has heard nothing.

Reed says she was not valued to the company, and the claims of diversity that they tout and avow are tactics to appear culturally sensitive and responsible.


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The company's actions reflect a reality that Black employees in corporate America are continuously undervalued and underrepresented.


For Reed, more opportunities are on the horizon as she is beginning a new role at a social justice organization.