I am very proud of PRSA and PRSSA for speaking out about the senseless acts of violence against George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. The PRSA and PRSSA messages — along with many others in the country — promote a healthy dialogue for peace, comfort and healing, which could not be more important right now in our national discussion. As a person of color, the wide support of what is right, just and fair is truly heartwarming.
But now, it’s time to get to work. Now is the time to use our skills, talents and influence to shape future conversations on race and race relations in our varied communities.
The National Diversity & Inclusion Committee is developing tools that can be used in typical times. However, these are not regular times. We each have to reach deep within ourselves to consider how we can ensure that our voices are part of the solution to create change. Consider the following for your Chapter:
- Host a diverse dialogue. Video and conference calls are important tools for having courageous conversations today about how things are in your hometown. Engage others, and use your voice to get the conversation started.
- Write a letter to the editor. Letters to your local paper remain impactful. If you prefer social media, then write a post or submit an article to your Chapter’s blog. Share views on what your community should be doing to engage with all races, ethnicities, religions, sexual identities and orientations. Lift your voice to launch these important conversations
- Collaborate with your student Chapters. Our students are active, involved and engaged in issues that are important to them. Research shows that millennials and Gen-Zs are more passionate about — and want to act on — projects that can make a difference. They also are the most diverse age group among us. Seek their ideas and thoughts, and involve them in your diversity and inclusion plans.
- Conduct meaningful outreach. Work with a multitude of stakeholders with common interests. Reach out to local synagogues, churches and mosques. Contact LGBTQ organizations in your region. Contact academic leaders. Continue to engage. Put your actions where your heart is. We can be truly living, breathing testimonies of the value of engaging with a diverse audience.
- Don’t stop. Even when you become discouraged and tired, or feel that you’ve done enough, keep at it. Your efforts to be a change agent are appreciated and make a difference.
Finally, support the National D&I Committee in our effort to further the conversation within PRSA. Please help us to execute the new 2020-2022 D&I Strategic Plan. There’s much work to do, and we need you. I invite you to share what you’re doing to make a positive difference.
Felicia Blow, APR, is the co-chair of PRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She serves as associate vice president for development at Hampton University, Hampton, Va. In 2018, she was featured as one of 40 individuals in the PRSA Foundation’s “Diverse Voices” book that catalogs career successes and challenges faced by leaders of color. Blow is also a former national PRSA Board of Directors member and Senior Counsel.
Photo credit: johnny silvercloud