Supporting Black Lives goes Beyond Social Media Campaigns:
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By now, there's no doubt that everyone has seen at least one Social Media post from companies and brands that are pledging their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, the fight against police brutality against Black People in the USA that has launched protests around the world in the past few weeks.
What is interesting about the current uprising is that we're now seeing companies such as Adidas, Sony & Sephora pledging their support which is an amazing way that companies are using their influence and of course their money to give back - which was not the case with previous Black Lives Matter protests, but that's a conversation for another time.
I want to express to any brand, company & anyone who's reading this that supporting Black Communities & Black People goes far beyond participating in Social Media Campaigns and having your PR team craft statements because everyone else in your field has done the same and you don't want to be left out.
The truth is that there are a number of companies who say that they stand in support with Black People, yet that isn't reflective of the hiring decisions that their company has made. I've worked for companies that nailed down the wording in their hiring process that their company take pride in diversity and equal opportunities - but in the end, I was the only Person of Colour that would be working in the department and in some cases, the office.
There are companies that are stating that they are fighting on the frontlines with Black Americans in all 50 states that have had protests, yet the Black Women who work for their companies are making significantly less than their white coworkers. There are companies who posted Black Squares on Instagram on Tuesday June 2nd, 2020 to step aside and let Black Voices and the Black Lives Matter Movement get as much attention as possible; while also knowingly ignoring the toxic work environment that Black People are subjected to on a day to day basis in their offices, often brushing off HR complaints as misunderstandings.
When I worked for my University, I had co-workers who would approach me and touch my hair. They didn't understand why I wasn't okay with being treated like an animal at a petting zoo.
The University I attended posted a letter Supporting Black Communities. In 2014, there was a Blackface incident on Halloween and the University was firm on not reprimanding the students involved.
There are companies that assure us that they are with us, but there are no people of colour in positions of power or on their Diversity and Inclusion Teams.
The truth is that a lot of companies are trying to walk the walk, but we also need you to talk the talk. Supporting Black Lives Matter means addressing these areas in the workplace and ensuring that black employees are also granted the same opportunities as others.
Don't just Support Black Lives on Social Media. Support Black Lives internally as well.
“If you believe in a cause, be willing to stand up for that cause with a million people or by yourself.” - Otis S Johnson