Devon Westhill: The Real Meaning of “Equity”

Devon Westhill was raised in the South along with his two Black siblings by his hardworking, single white mother. Despite growing up in tough times, Westhill is now the president and general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO), an organization whose mission is to study, develop and disseminate ideas that promote color blind opportunity and support the American belief that everyone has the chance to find happiness through hard work and dedication. He credits his upbringing and life experiences for giving him the passion to speak out against efforts, even well-intentioned ones, that divide us by race.

In a new Philanthropy Roundtable video, Westhill discusses why he supports our True Diversity initiative.

“Ultimately, I’m supporting True Diversity because I believe in equality. I believe that every person is a unique individual with dignity who deserves an equal chance of success in life,” he says.

Westhill says True Diversity respects that we are all “incredibly complex and unique individuals,” and is an approach preferable to others that seek to achieve diversity through quotas that “divide us by race.”

“I sadly say race-based preferences for some and not for others is almost always what is meant when an organization or government entity promotes the concept of equity instead of equality,” says Westhill.

Instead, Westhill argues True Diversity offers companies and organizations a framework focused on real equality that gives everyone the same opportunities to succeed no matter their background.

“True Diversity embraces stories like mine because of what it says about me, beyond my race or sex. That I could have the life journey that I’ve had and how that journey affects my perspective on the world,” says Westhill. “I’m not just a Black man. I’m a dedicated husband, devoted father, a U.S. Navy veteran, proud Florida man, Steve Martin fan and so much more.”

Watch the video below to learn more about Westhill’s story:

True Diversity is an equality-based, holistic framework for embracing diversity. It values every person as a unique individual and empowers charitable organizations with the freedom and flexibility to advance their missions and help those in need. Learn more here.

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