In honor of Pride Month, the Museum of PR held a forum where PR pros who are members of the LGBTQ+ community discussed how the industry has helped raise awareness around Pride. In addition, they spoke about their experiences being PR pros and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
As part of our series of interviews with senior PR pros in new positions, we spoke recently with Emily Graham, FleishmanHillard’s first chief diversity & inclusion officer. During her 15-year career, Graham says she’s seen no evidence that PR has made strides toward diversity. Actions not words are needed now, she says.
A group of several civil rights organizations banded together last week, launching a campaign against Facebook in response to the allowance of what they define as hate speech. The NAACP, Anti-Defamation League, Color of Change, Sleeping Giants and Common Sense Media have all called for advertisers to halt all paid-post spending for the month of July.
In non-COVID times Pride supporters filled their calendars with parades and events across the globe, celebrating the beauty and importance of LGBTQ+ rights and representation. It seems only fitting during this time of another equality movement, Black Lives Matter, that messaging reflect a nod to the history of Pride—an uprising against police brutality by the queer community.
Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn, spoke with Holly Teichholtz, SVP communications and content strategies at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The two discussed pandemic-related disruptions to the workplace, the future of work, and how the nonprofit sector can best respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Earlier this week, IBM and Amazon said they will pull back from facial recognition technology contracts with law enforcement. The use of machine learning technology that detects faces has come under renewed scrutiny for racial bias. In addition, the technology is known to be flawed, particularly when applied to non-white faces. Until today, Microsoft was notably quiet on the issue, given it too has provided facial recognition software to police.
We’re at a crossroads, so the question is not whether brands should speak out, but how. Yet lacking an authentic message backed up with action, brands can be headed for disaster. In addition, before wading into multicultural communication and marketing, know your audience, be respectful and commit to a long-term commitment.
The killing of George Floyd led the author to think of her father, an immigrant who poured his life into his children. He expected that providing his children with a strong education would help them succeed professionally and personally. Pure merit isn’t enough when structural racism and exclusionary practices exist. The status quo must go, the author argues. Stakeholder capitalism is here to stay.
Many companies and organizations are taking stands in support of recent events. More than a few of their statements fall flat. There are several things an organization should consider before it takes a stand. First, avoid empty statements, be sensitive, honest and, most important, say something real.
The business case for diversity and inclusion is well known. Now, the pandemic and wrongful death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have teed up an opportunity for corporate communicators and PR agencies to re-shape their organizations’ values on diversity and inclusion. It’s a moment that PR should not miss.