Servicing clients and running a business is one thing; creating safe spaces – even if virtual – is another. Giving people an opportunity to speak up, speak out and speak their mind is something we have always strived for in our agency.
Many of our staff have shared their thoughts on our response to recent events and the racial injustices in America and around the world and have asked us to address what we are actually doing as an agency in light of the gross inequalities being leveled at the Black community.
We set a very high bar at our agency when it comes to purpose and activism, and they are rightly pushing us to be better and to act. Words alone and statements of solidarity with Black Lives Matter are simply not enough.
While we will be working together to build a long-term plan to do better as an agency and as human beings, we are not willing to let perfection get in the way of progress and are going to start with things we can do right now, today:
- Continuing to hold our clients accountable for their words and actions. Yes, some will listen, and others won’t. We can’t control what they do, but we can do our best to set them in the right direction.
- Offering pro-bono communications services to advocacy organizations aligned with Black Lives Matter, black-owned businesses and companies that are dedicated to eradicating racism to better raise their voice.
- Being an ally and checking in on our colleagues and friends impacted by these recent events. Having difficult conversations, asking questions, educating ourselves to do and be better.
- Pushing our D&I Committee to address the composition of our teams and the language we use and share every day
- Addressing our recruiting and hiring practices and increasing diversity by partnering with organizations like The Posse Foundation.
- Committing Brand on Purpose to highlight racial inequality and the role companies can play in helping to combat racism and focus on social justice.
- Launching a microsite (as a continuation of the June 5 special issue of The K.W.T.) devoted specifically towards educational content about the Black Lives Matter movement – podcasts, videos, TED Talks, book suggestions and articles – aggregated by us but for everyone.
- Closing our offices on Friday, June 12, to give all staff a moment to listen, learn, take action and get involved in the ways most important to them and their communities.
Our collective voices have shown us that we can and should do more, do better, and continue to challenge ourselves as leaders, as individuals, and as an agency. This is only the beginning of our evolving action list, and we ask everyone – our clients and partners, included – to continue to push us and give us suggestions and feedback for what more we can do, now and always.
Thank you for holding us accountable.
Thank you for helping us enact true change.
It is time now that we all do better, together.