No Time to Remain Silent
It is no secret that we’re experiencing a time of extreme unrest in our country. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, David McAtte, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other Black men and women serve as yet another reminder of the deep roots in racial inequality and disparities on which our country stands.
At GLC, we stand in solidarity with our Black employees, partners, members of our community and the Black Lives Matter movement.
On top of it all, we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic that continues to claim the lives of Black people at a much higher rate than any other race. It’s infuriating, disappointing and heartbreaking.
Over the last five days, however, companies and organizations of all types and in all industries have released statements in light of our current reality.
Some have been powerful, informative and authentic—unapologetically taking a stand against racism, speaking up about racial justice and standing in solidarity with Black lives.
Others have been tone-deaf or completely missed the mark—or even contributed to racial disparities.
This isn’t a lesson in diversity and inclusion. Actually, it’s much bigger than that. This is about how organizations can strategically use our platforms, influence and expertise to communicate and incite necessary change.
- Review and reiterate your organization’s values. This is an opportunity to take a serious moment of reflection. What’s important to your organization and why? How does your work contribute to the bigger global conversation in creating equity and space for Black people within your company? Your industry? Think critically about this; it’s not time to rush and deliver what could be perceived as an empty statement. Demonstrating this can be in the form of a blog post, e-newsletter or posts on social media. Not only will your organization’s mission be reinforced, but it will be even more evident that you’re consistently working toward better serving your community in a more inclusive way.
- Show unwavering support to your Black employees, members, colleagues, stakeholders and constituents. Black Americans right now are seeing more images of Black people being verbally accosted, harassed, physically violated and killed, and it is beyond traumatic. Add to that the need to continue performing professionally day after day, and it’s a heavy burden to carry. Now is not the time to rely on their help to educate white employees on anti-Blackness. There are plenty of books, research and scholarly articles that be found on the internet on that topic. Developing an internal or external antiracism resource guide for how your organization exercises allyship and activism could be a step in the right direction. Airbnb shared theirs in a recent email to customers that was created by their Black employee resource group, Black@Airbnb. If your organization chooses to make a statement or develop content regarding racial injustice in America and current protests, please have a strategic discussion before posting. It’s important that your content is informative, concise and sincere, and provides a direct call to action.
- Back up your words with action. Marching and protesting are definitely ways to show solidarity, but financial contributions and signatures are needed, too. There are dozens of organizations across the country that need support right now in the fight against racial injustice. Glossier announced they are making a pledge to support various organizations combating racial injustice and established an initiative to support Black-owned beauty businesses. In addition to an internal resource guide, you can create a list of campaigns and grassroots organizations that focus on issues like social injustice and bail funds for your employees and customers to give to.
Here are a few:
- Black Lives Matter Fund
- The Bail Project
- Campaign Zero
- NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Chicago Community Bond Fund
- Reclaim the Block
- Justice for George Floyd petition
- Justice for Breonna Taylor petition
- Justice for Tony McDade petition
- Justice for Ahmaud Arbery petition
To quote activist Jamila Burley, “#BlackLivesMatter isn’t just a hashtag, it’s a lifestyle.” This moment of history is etched in the heart and minds of Americans forever, but it can’t be viewed simply as a marketing or brand awareness activation. Now isn’t the time to be silent; it’s the time to reflect, be thoughtful and strategic, and act with intention.
Find more ways you can help.