Navigating authenticity and openness in the face of racial injustice

For business leaders, communicators and brand managers, making space for disenfranchised voices without disappearing or making tone-deaf gaffes requires careful listening.

The conversation among Americans about race, justice and police brutality in our communities isn’t new—but the level of frustration and anger seems to have reached a new high.

Protests have swept the nation and, in some cities, have morphed into violent riots with looting, damage to property and clashes with police resulting in injuries and fatalities.

The current wave of protests was sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for over 8 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and begging for air. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

In the wake of the incident, and as protests shook cities and citizens nationwide, many companies and other organizations joined the call for police reform, racial justice and a renewal of trust in the U.S. law enforcement system. Brand managers who had already been navigating a marketplace ravaged by the COVID-19 crisis have found themselves facing fresh challenges.

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