Declaring ‘Black Lives Matter’ Isn’t Enough. Companies Must Prove It!
May 25 marks one year since of the murder of George Floyd. Since his senseless death, millions of citizens have called for police reform and other major events have unfolded. More companies have issued more statements around social justice and how they plan to be more socially and culturally aware of our current client. According to Business Insider, the most powerful statements are ones that call for individuals / organizations to be held fully accountable, condemn violence and illegal activities and are personal. The most effective statements explain why the issue matters to the company.
Companies that want to participate in conversations around social justice, civil unrest don’t just issue statements or offer their employees a day off to reflect, they call for action! For example, the NFL announcing the league will observe Juneteenth in 2020 and some NFL teams announcing they would permanently recognize Juneteenth simply isn’t enough. Companies must understand that their audiences are watching their actions AND inactions. Here are a few companies that are getting it right . . .
· Ben & Jerry’s issued the most influential statement to Floyd’s murder. They also tweeted a statement calling out white supremacy after the Capital riot this summer.
· Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) hosted a Black Entrepreneurship Week (BEW), a weeklong virtual conference in February targeting black and brown business owners. From February – April 2020, the number of active Black-owned businesses decreased by 41%. To address the business decline, CSBDF is committed to creating more necessary and equitable events like BEW to support minority and small business owners.
· National Basketball Association (NBA) has been intentional about utilizing its resources to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and promote awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 resources. Some NBA teams, like the Philadelphia 76ers, announced a local program that supports black owned businesses and fight systemic racism.
Simply put – it’s not enough for companies to declare ‘Black Lives Matter’ or whatever the current hashtag is, they must prove it.