Racism & Diversity. Now That I Know, What Can I Do?
The recent protests calling for police reform and justice for George Floyd have shined a beacon on the issues of racism and diversity in America. I have assembled a panel of accomplished public relations agency professionals to discuss Racism in America.
“And George Floyd’s death is not rare. It’s just how he died. Cause what’s sad is we’re used to seeing us get shot. But to see a knee on the neck. To watch life ebb away. To watch it happen over time. To hear him cry out for his mom. But his mom had already died 2 years ago. But this big man, who everyone says is a Teddy bear, was crying for his mom. And the man who had his knee on his neck didn’t even look down. He never looked down at him and saw his humanity,” said Lakewood Church Pastor John Gray.
Racism in America
Systemic racism in America goes back to our founding fathers. Ten of our 12 first presidents were slave owners.
As Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Nikole Hannah Jones detailed in her 1619 Project essay, director Ava DuVernay described in her documentary 13th, and James Forman showed in his Pulitzer-prize winning nonfiction book Locking Up Our Own, racism runs deep in America.
After WWII, returning black service members were denied GI Bill benefits, banks continued to unfairly deny home loans to people of color and we disproportionately funded white over black K-12 schools.
Many white people think that if they aren’t racist, how can there be racism in America? You can’t fix a problem until you admit you have one.
After World War ll, Germany took collective action to “rid German and Austrian society, culture, press, economy, judiciary, and politics of the National Socialist ideology (Nazism).”
But we’ve never addressed our white supremacy roots.
We have statues to honor and military bases named after Confederate Generals who committed treason to defend slavery.
Until we rid America of white supremacy ideology, until these views become socially and politically unacceptable, expect the same societal, political, educational, and economic injustices that fuel income inequality and racially charged violence to persist.
Town Hall Panelists
Cheryl Procter-Rogers is a PR and business strategist and executive coach for A Step Ahead, a global consulting practice. She counsels clients in crisis communications, strategic planning, business strategy, organization development, change management, public relations, leadership development, and internal communications. Cheryl is a Past Public Relations Society of America President.
Bill Imada is chairman and CEO of IW Group, which he co-founded three decades ago and focuses on the growing multicultural and cross-generational markets. His expertise includes marketing, advertising, public relations, cross-cultural communications, crisis management, training and development, and community relations.
Rosanna Fiske is SVP of Corporate Communications at Wells Fargo. She is a strategic communications executive expert in driving comprehensive corporate communications, reputation management, marketing, advertising, and public relations strategies including experience in international and multicultural markets. She has proven track record with significant P&L experience. She is also a past Public Relations Society of America.
“Minneapolis is not a black problem. It is an American problem. Equality before the law is as American as the flag. We will have change when all Americans realize that this is a problem and that Black Lives Matter,” said former Director of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on GPS with Fareed Zakaria.
I hope to see you at this critical event as we convene to discuss what we can do to help heal our nation.