The Time for Change Has Come. Again.

Heidi Otway, APR, CPRC, President + Partner

In 1971, Ebony Magazine released an encyclopedia on Black America from slavery to the civil rights movement. The pictorial shows images we are still seeing in America nearly fifty years later. 

I’m a history buff and my library has an encyclopedia produced by Ebony Magazine in 1971 about Black America. I’ve had these books since I was a kid and I still read them to this day. They are full of pictures and many show Black people being abused by White police officers as they protested and called for the end of segregation and better treatment in society. 

History is repeating itself. Right now, people of all ages and ethnicities are protesting around the country to demand change after videos captured the brutal murders of several African-Americans at the hands of police. Consumers are also calling out brands to support this cause and do more than make a declaration in a social media post.

A national study released this month shows consumers want brands to lead efforts to end systemic racism in the United States. Conducted by Edelman, a global communications firm, their Trust Barometer poll found that 63 percent of Americans are concerned about systemic racism and racial injustice in this country.

Other key findings:

  • More than half of all respondents (60%) will support or boycott a brand based on if and how it responds to the current protests  
  • Sixty percent of Americans say  brands must take a stand and publicly speak out on racial injustice
  • Four times as many respondents say  taking a stand on racial injustice gains brand trust instead of losing it
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents say  brands have to reflect the full diversity of the country within their own organizations and in their products and communications 

History shows that change did come as a result of the civil rights movement. America is more diverse than ever. However, racism still exists and the time for change has come again. For those who are reading this, I’m expecting you and your company or organization to join the new movement to right the wrongs and do what you can do to make America great for all. 

My hope is that years from now the history books will show that the year 2020 was a tumultuous yet pivotal moment in history. One that started the real end of systemic racism and social injustices in our society. 

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