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Black in Jewelry Coalition to Serve as Catalyst for Change

‘Change is not going to come to fruition without leadership.’

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(PRESS RELEASE) A group of Black professionals in the jewelry industry officially formed the Black in Jewelry Coalition (BIJC), the first international non-profit membership organization dedicated to the inclusion and advancement of Black professionals within the gem and jewelry industry. Visit Blackinjewelry.org to become a member, donate or to learn more about this organization’s role in effectuating positive change.

“Black people work in and support the gem and jewelry industry yet there is disparity in our access to resources and opportunities. Black in Jewelry Coalition was formed to break this cycle. What makes our organization unique is that our Board of Directors is entirely comprised of Black professionals – 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. I feel it is my duty to be part of this change and I appreciate all of the efforts and support by the jewelry industry to work towards this goal,” said BIJC President and co-founder Annie Doresca.

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“The jewelry industry has been slowly awakening to realize that it has not been a hospitable environment for people of color, especially Black people. 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 towards these initiatives both with and without our allies so that there will be true change that stands the test of time.” said BIJC Vice President and co-founder Elyssa Jenkins.

BIJC is launching strategic initiatives to help professionals in every part of the jewelry industry. Jewelry designers can look forward to a consumer-facing directory of Black-owned designers, 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. BIJC will also 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 the BIPOC community.

“Change is not going to come to fruition without leadership. We believe that by paving the way and guiding organizations with the necessary steps to take, we can help close the gap of opportunity that many Black professionals face within our industry,” said BIJC Chair of Communications and co-founder Nellie Barnett.

The co-founders and Board of Directors for BIJC is made up of:

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  • Annie Doresca, BIJC President; Chief Financial Officer of 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; HR Director, Lab & Research, North America for 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 & 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 & SVP NA Field Human Resources at Signet Jewelers

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