For this week’s PrimeTimePRchat we chatted with Lee from Obviouslee and Katie from Media Frenzy Global about the Act in Solidarity Agency Initiative. Both of these professionals were ready to have The Difficult Conversation, which is awesome.
The Act in Solidarity initiative was created to specifically target Marketing, PR and creative agencies to have them join in a pledge to make changes to provide an equitable and safe environment for employees of color. The pledge focuses on 5 pillars we’re asking agencies to commit to:
Education – a commitment to educate yourself on Black history, culture and the struggles of the Black community
Marketing – a promise to include people of color in the stories we tell for our clients
Human Resources – a commitment to increase the diversity of people in your organization
Code of Conduct – to ensure that all employees are held responsible for their actions
Values Review – a call to examine your core values and to ensure they include diversity, inclusion and equity
Katie and Lee chatted with the group about Act In Solidarity and the 5 pillars and how they came to launch this initiative. We talked about goals and how organizations are acknowledging the BLM movement internally and externally.
What really came to light during the conversation was the when public relations agencies or companies are silent in their communications about social justice, it affects how customers, employees, and the public interact with them. Without action, stakeholders can form the wrong opinion of companies who are silent.
When companies or agencies make statements but do not follow up, that also has an impact on the brand. This is where some companies have been criticized for Woke Washing.
2020 has been the year that social justice burst to the forefront and we have yet to see if this cultural shift will entice employees or PR leadership to stick up for POC in the workplace. Public relations is not very diverse, despite all of their campaigns and efforts. We still have a significantly white male-led industry. And I for one know people that are scrutinized, or their actions misinterpreted, if they speak out about systemic racism in the industry.
There was great advice for practitioners and leaders who want to learn more on systemic racism and make a diversity change in their organization, with examples from several organizations as well as additional resources.