It has been an impossible couple of weeks. As we mourn senseless deaths and staggering violence, it can be a struggle to remember that every day is a new day filled with new choices and opportunities to challenge ourselves: What does change look like? What will it take? What can we do?
Here’s what we can’t do: We can’t stand quietly on the sidelines. We must stand up, speak up and help create the change that’s needed in the world.
No matter our politics or perspective, the Black Lives Matter movement must matter to us. It’s born of a new generation seeking to right entrenched wrongs and shake our society out of stasis. Racism continues to be pervasive, as does sexism, homophobia, religious persecution and other prejudices. Each form of oppression needs and deserves its own movement, and to have that work welcomed and embraced in our free society. Further, while it’s true that each of us lives with threats, we must recognize these threats are not all the same, nor are they equal in danger or in scale.
As a communications leader, I recognize Black Lives Matter as a groundbreaking movement with potential to equalize our understanding, raise awareness and effect change. As a conscious citizen of the world, I see and support its power to reclaim the rights of African-Americans and preserve the safety and futures for generations of citizens to come.
As a business leader – though it would perhaps be easier and less disruptive to keep these thoughts to my personal social media channels – I’m proud to state openly and unequivocally that Citizen Relations is an organization where black lives matter.
Citizen is committed to open and empathetic conversation, and fostering continual growth and deeper understanding of one another, which are the foundations for true diversity and inclusion. We are committed to hiring for diversity and operating inclusively, and are testing new processes that support that commitment in the face of unconscious bias. We want to be better, and we invite our partners in the communications industry to join us in creating institutions that support true equality.
Culturally, guided by our values to Respect Everyone, Do What’s Right and Strive for Excellence, we do not presume to know or speak for the experience of others, particularly those who are victims of oppression, aggression and violence. But we also do not let fear or discomfort stop us from asking questions and seeking solutions. We will always choose to support one another and our communities and good times and challenging times like these.
Our work is collective, but it is also individual. We must each look for ways to be personally and profoundly changed by these tragic losses. Let’s push ourselves to see the world more compassionately. How can we open to one another, rather than close? We may not be able to quickly erase decades of prejudice, mistreatment or misunderstanding, but we can stand collectively for what’s right today, and continue defending that into the future.
Today is a new day. Today is the day, the week, the year we must support Black Lives Matter. We must stand up, speak up and help make the change that’s needed in the world.
Photo Credit: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune
Written by Daryl McCullough, Chief Executive Officer & Global Chairman, Citizen Relations