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In Chicago, Inclusivity Is a Competitive Business Advantage

In Chicago, Inclusivity Is a Competitive Business AdvantageIn Chicago, Inclusivity Is a Competitive Business Advantage

Chicago is known throughout the world as an inclusive city, where over 150 languages are spoken, and numerous cultures, ethnicities are represented throughout its 77 neighborhoods. The city is also well regarded for its LGBTQ+ history and ongoing commitment to equity and inclusivity to deliver prosperity and growth for all residents.

Local leaders continue to move the needle of progress forward for LGBTQ+ people, families, and communities through inclusive policies and practices. By doing so, they spur economic growth by signaling to residents, visitors and employers that the city is open to everyone.

World Business Chicago (WBC), the city’s economic development agency, is leaning into these continued advancements with its new advertising campaign, “In Chicago We Believe.” The campaign promotes the city’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, not just as a business positive, but as a principled value defining the city at a historic national moment.

“What is happening around the country is not only damaging to the mental health of LGBTQ+ students, teachers, and families, but is part of a movement to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be,” said Michael Fassnacht, president & CEO, World Business Chicago, and the city’s first-ever chief marketing officer.

In Chicago We Believe appears in today’s edition of the Dallas Morning News, Orlando Sentinel and the Phoenix Business Journal. This latest initiative follows the economic development agency’s highly successful 2021 campaign, Dear Texas, where it contrasted the Windy City against Texas’ restrictive voting laws and poor record on reproductive rights.

In Chicago We Believe emphasizes the city’s core values, including the beliefs that:

  • Government should lift up residents rather than sow censorship and cruelty.
  • All children, and especially transgender youth, need the support of their family, friends, educators, community, and medical professionals.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion includes LGBTQ+ communities, identities, and experiences.

“The LGBTQ+ community faces disproportionate rates of discrimination, which leads to bullying, and worse, murder,” said Tracy Baim, Chicago LGBTQ+ journalist, editor, publisher, author and filmmaker. “With all that is going on in the world, the last thing LGBTQ+ students and families should have to contend with is stigma and censorship from the government.”

The WBC campaign was inspired by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent signing of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, the subject of intense national consternation as a targeted attack on the LGBTQ+ population.

“This anti LGBTQ+ legislation is bad for families, communities, businesses and the U.S. economy—still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Samir Mayekar, deputy mayor, Economic & Neighborhood Development, City of Chicago. “In Chicago, we condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people. Such laws not only threaten hard-won progress for greater awareness, support and equality, but also threaten the livelihoods and safety of our communities, our neighbors and our families.”

WBC anticipates that Chicago’s dedication to LGBTQ+ rights will be given the same weight as other pro-business attributes the city offers, such as a strategically central location, robust transportation infrastructure, and a skilled and diverse workforce. Chicago was recently named the top metro for corporate investment for the ninth consecutive year by Site Selection magazine, with a record 441 companies relocating to or expanding in the area during 2021. The corporate influx brought more than $2.8 billion in investments and 18,368 jobs to Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

World Business Chicago is a public-private, non-profit partnership that drives inclusive economic growth and job creation, supports business, and promotes Chicago as a leading global city.