This is another one of those statements. The statements with which we’re all periodically inundated in the wake of a high-profile, shocking injustice brazenly carried out in full public view. Statements that originate from brands and organizations that have heretofore been silent on issues of systemic inequality, injustice and bigotry in our society. Statements that loudly and proudly (and suddenly) proclaim that the authors stand in solidarity with those who have been victimized and/or traumatized by these injustices, who are outraged by recent events and who are justifiably advocating for meaningful change. Statements that shouldn’t ever have to be written. Statements replete with words and sentiments that shouldn’t ever have to be expressed but that should, instead, be bedrock truths that we truly hold to be self-evident and that we honor in the way we conduct ourselves every single day.
We are wary of these statements for any number of reasons. The cynics among us view them as hollow sentiments too often expressed out of a sense of obligation or worse (much worse)… opportunism. The realists recognize that few, if any, recipients care much about where a small organization like ours stands on the issues of the day as a practical matter. But things feel different this time. This time, we find ourselves reading every word of these statements and making value judgments about the sincerity and authenticity of the individuals and organizations from which they originate. This time, we are acutely aware of the fact that every one of our colleagues wants to be firmly on the record with respect to where they stand and to know that they have the organization’s full support.
This time, we at R&J take up our work on the heels of an incredibly powerful and moving protest march organized and run by one of those colleagues, Shalom Obisie-Orlu, on Sunday, June 7. Those of us who were able to attend stood in awe and admiration as Shalom addressed a crowd of several hundred with eloquence, integrity and passion that moved many to tears and left an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of everyone in attendance. One of the many things that Shalom made abundantly clear on Sunday was that now is not the time to stand idly by and wait for the storm to pass. Now is not the time to be silent, and thereby complicit, as society gradually returns to an inequitable and unjust status quo. Now is the time to listen to those who continue to be denied the opportunities, freedoms and dignities that so many of us take for granted… and to serve as their allies in pursuit of real reform. Now is the time to actively oppose racism and bigotry in all their forms and work to level the playing field once and for all.
So, this is a statement to let you know that R&J Strategic Communications firmly and unequivocally believes that Black lives matter. All people are created equal and are entitled to equal treatment without exception. Further, we are committed to actively opposing racism, bigotry and oppression in all their forms and working to bring about lasting change. Specifically, and for starters, we are committed to:
Observing Juneteenth as an official company holiday and using that time to better educate ourselves on the history of systemic injustice and inequality in our society.
Actively recruiting, training and developing a diverse workforce.
Providing anti-bias training and education for everyone on our team.
Contributing our time, resources and expertise to support organizations and individuals working to bring about long overdue social and criminal justice reforms.
We invite you to do the same and would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you in that endeavor.