It’s Time to Double Down on Solving Racial Inequities
Two of SMS Research Advisor’s guiding beliefs are “Think as Many” and “Work Brave.” When it comes to fighting discrimination, racial injustice and inequality, it’s time to double down on both.
The anger, pain, frustration and discord we’ve seen and experienced following the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many other Black people in America have laid plain the unvarnished truth that there are – and always have been – significant, deep-rooted divisions in our society. We need to be humble enough – and brave enough – to confront these truths and take action.
In partnership with our colleagues across AVENIR GLOBAL, SMS has had a strong commitment to addressing Diversity and Inclusion within the firm, and we have been actively participating in industry efforts to make the field more inclusive and attractive to people of color. But we know we need to do more – both leaning into and accelerating those efforts and thinking more expansively about ways in which we can help break the cycle. We can and will do our part within our organization, with our employees and in our communities.
We are reinforcing our zero-tolerance stance on bias, hate, xenophobia and discrimination in the workplace and doubling down on our commitment to diverse recruiting and hiring practices. But we know that’s not enough. We need to take a deep look at our organization to assure that we are free of structural inequities and unconscious bias in our culture and that we are creating a workplace that puts a priority on equality, diversity and openness. That requires listening, learning and determining the most meaningful places where we can take action within our organization.
We need to reinforce our support of all employees by providing the resources and safe spaces where honest dialogue can take place, and we also need to equip ourselves and our teams with the education and the tools for each of us to do our part to address these difficult issues. This includes training on ways in which we can individually help break the cycle of bias and inequity, as well as ways in which we can help prevent the same as we execute client programs. Furthermore, we want to encourage our employees to speak freely and participate in social change, and we will address any barriers that prevent them from doing so.
And while change starts from within, we as professional communicators have a unique set of skills that, when directed externally, can help affect change in our industry and local communities. We will partner with our industry peers and community leaders – stepping forward to play a role in awareness, understanding and driving new behaviors to help break down the complex and deep-rooted norms that exist today. It will require us to focus on where we can truly make a difference, but we intend to make a difference.
We can only change and evolve by first listening, learning and having courageous conversations and then through meaningful, continuous, sustained actions. That is what we intend to do, and we hope our clients and our peers will join us.