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Diversity Drives Conventions in Philadelphia

Date February 15, 2024

Diversity Drives Conventions in Philadelphia

A group of people walking in front of a mural in Philadelphia.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility is a priority in Philadelphia. From one of the country’s prominent Gayborhoods to thriving African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian communities, Philadelphia welcomes diverse conventions and all visitors of backgrounds and cultures.

“Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility is more than a hashtag in Philadelphia,” said Shelia Alexander-Reid, executive director of PHL Diversity. “It is really a mantra, and we make sure that everyone has a seat at the table.”

A commitment to diversity from the city to conventions

Committed to dismantling institutional and structural barriers, the city works to establish DEIA best practices in the public sector, to ensure the protection of marginalized groups. , Philadelphia was recently the largest city in the U.S. to earn a Certified Welcoming City designation by Welcoming America. This formal designation is given to cities with policies and programs that reflect their values and commitment to immigrant inclusion.

And that commitment extends beyond city government. The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) is one of the first CVBs in the U.S. to establish a diversity division, to connect meeting planners with community leaders. PHL Diversity highlights Philadelphia’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs for meetings, conventions, events, and visitors.

A person stands in the middle of a rainbow crosswalk with their arms out.

PHL Diversity Director Shiela Alexander-Reid in Philadelphia’s Gayborhood.

“[PHL Diversity] started back in 1987 focusing on diversity targets and diverse communities,” said Alexander-Reid. “We are now 36 years further along and so I’m very proud of the fact that Philadelphia has always been ahead of the curve, and we continue to be ahead of the curve.”

PHL Diversity provides access to various communities for sponsorship opportunities, keynote speakers and panelists, audience building, outreach, service, and support. The division received the 2022 Corporate Award from the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals.

A community of connectors

“Philadelphia is a great destination and not just because of the restaurants, the cheesesteaks, and pretzels,” said Alexander-Reid. “But because of the people, the community, the causes, the cultures, all come together and that drives conventions to Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia’s vibrant neighborhoods offer an eclectic tapestry of communities welcoming visitors. Blocks away from the Pennsylvania Convention Center (PCC) is Philadelphia’s Chinatown, one of the largest on the East Coast. And just south of the PCC is the Gayborhood, marked by rainbow-decorated street signs designated by the city.

people on a tour bus photograph the Chinatown arch

The Chinatown Friendship Gate

The city is also home to many extraordinary Black-owned businesses. Dope Botanicals, located in Rittenhouse Square, offers plant-based wellness products to promote healing and optimize the body. For avid readers, a must-visit destination is Harriett’s Bookshop in Fishtown, a literary haven that honors Harriet Tubman’s legacy through literature. And in Old City, former Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins founded Damari, a boutique that refines custom suiting.

In addition, Philadelphia has many remarkable restaurants that are proudly owned and operated by Black entrepreneurs. 2023 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant, Friday Saturday Sunday serves visitors a seasonally inspired eight-course tasting menu. Up in Fairmount, SOUTH Restaurant & Jazz Club, is renowned for its delectable Southern cuisine and exceptional live jazz performances.

A chef crosses his arms outside his restaurant, Fri Sat Sun.

Chef Chad Williams

The PHLCVB’s team of destination experts will help you plan a DEIA-focused meeting and will connect you to Philadelphia’s diverse communities. Learn more about PHL Diversity and start planning your next event today.