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This New Group Aims To Support Black Jewelry Professionals
Led by a board comprised entirely of Black professionals, the Black in Jewelry Coalition is dedicated to fostering inclusivity and opportunity.
The Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC) is an international nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the inclusion and advancement of Black professionals in the gem and jewelry industry.
“Black people work in and support the gem and jewelry industry, yet there is disparity in our access to resources and opportunities,” BIJC President and co-founder Annie Doresca said. “Black in Jewelry Coalition was formed to break this cycle.”
“We have a shared experience of what it’s like to be Black in the jewelry industry and because of that, we can identify roadblocks—some we have personally faced—and create solutions, but most importantly, access,” Doresca said.
“I feel it is my duty to be part of this change, and I appreciate all the efforts and support by the jewelry industry to work toward this goal.”
The new nonprofit is launching strategic initiatives to help professionals in every facet of the jewelry industry.
For example, jewelry designers can look forward to a consumer-facing directory of Black jewelry designers and Black-owned jewelry design companies, as well as access to funding and resources for developing relationships with major distributors, manufacturers, miners and gem dealers.
Students will have access to exclusive scholarships and internships.
In addition, BIJC will develop programming and resources focused on establishing diversity in the hiring process—including senior leadership development—and closing the pay gap in the jewelry industry for those in the BIPOC community.
“The jewelry industry has been slowly awakening to realize that it has not been a hospitable environment for people of color, especially Black people,” said BIJC Vice President and co-founder Elyssa Jenkins.
“Black in Jewelry Coalition is needed now more than ever for all Black professionals in corporate, trade, jewelry design, mining, manufacturing and more—even Black consumers. Many of us have been working for quite some time toward these initiatives, both with and without our allies, so that there will be true change that stands the test of time.”
The Black in Jewelry Coalition board members are as follows.
— Annie Doresca, BIJC president; chief financial officer at Jewelers of America
— Elyssa Jenkins, BIJC vice president; director of membership and digital content at Jewelers Vigilance Committee
— Malyia McNaughton, BIJC treasurer; owner of Made By Malyia
— Lisa Garris, BIJC secretary; human resources director, Lab & Research, North America at the Gemological Institute of America
— Adrianne Sanogo, BIJC chair of education; Graduate Gemologist
— Lisette Scott, BIJC events chair; owner of Jam + Rico
— Miya Owens, BIJC corporate outreach chair; associate counsel and director of mediation at Jewelers Vigilance Committee
— Nellie Barnett, BIJC communications chair; manager of media and public relations at the Gemological Institute of America
— Reginald Johnson, BIJC nominations chair; chief diversity officer and senior vice president NA Field Human Resources at Signet Jewelers
To learn more, become a member or donate, visit the Black in Jewelry Coalition website.
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