As more organizations across industries make statements about #BlackLivesMatter, some are announcing donations and other efforts to fight against racism.
Verizon pledged $10 million, shared equally with seven social justice organizations that include National Action Network and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.
— Verizon Media (@verizonmedia) June 2, 2020
“We cannot commit to a brand purpose of moving the world forward unless we are committed to helping ensure we move it forward for everyone,” said Verizon’s chairman and chief executive, Hans Vestberg.
OKCupid promised donations to four social justice organizations, including Black Girls Code and the ACLU. It’s also posing questions to its members “to ignite discussions around racial equality and justice.”
We are with you and we want to be part of the change. We are donating to @ACLU, @BlackGirlsCode, @fairfightaction, @NAACP_LDF — organizations who are on the frontlines of fighting for racial equality. pic.twitter.com/39YswcLRW3
— OkCupid (@okcupid) June 1, 2020
Peets Coffee promised to “have a clear plan of action by Wednesday, if not sooner”:
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Since 1966, we have believed in fostering strong communities. Being part of a community means that we will not idly stand by as our members are discriminated against. We also believe in the power of our collective voices, so we will be asking our team members across the country how they think we can best support our community. From that Peet’s will commit to giving back locally with financial contributions that can and will effect change. We will have a clear plan of action by Wednesday if not sooner. Working together will always make us a stronger community.
The efforts highlight the importance of backing your words with action, along with the best practice of communicating a clear strategy to achieving your commitments. Whatever your pledge, don’t forget to outline your organization’s game plan for making a difference.
Here are today’s top stories:
Spotify adds minutes of silence as brands join #BlackoutTuesday
The streaming service announced a series of initiatives which includes special curation of playlists, a “Black History is Now” hub, and on June 2, moments of silence along with black logos on select playlists and podcasts.
Listeners will see a black logo and headline image on more than a dozen of our flagship playlists and podcasts, including Today’s Top Hits and RapCaviar, as well as all of our urban and R&B playlists and many podcast covers. Spotify will also pause social media publication as a symbol of solidarity that reminds us that things cannot remain status quo. Finally, select participating playlists and podcasts will include an 8-minute, 46-second track of silence as a solemn acknowledgement for the length of time that George Floyd was suffocated.
Many brands have joined “Black Out Tuesday,” silencing their social media feeds and giving their employees time to process their feelings:
In solidarity with the Black community – our colleagues, artists, songwriters, musicians, producers, and music listeners, Amazon Music will observe Black Out Tuesday to listen, learn, and find more ways we can act in the ongoing fight against racism. pic.twitter.com/HA1Urd9n4c
— Amazon Music (@amazonmusic) June 1, 2020
— YouTube Music (@youtubemusic) June 1, 2020
We are not staying silent and we are not standing by.
The fight against racial inequality, injustice, and straight up racism doesn’t stop with financial donations and words of support.
— Fenty Beauty (@fentybeauty) June 2, 2020
— Fenty Beauty (@fentybeauty) June 2, 2020
— Virgin Active UK (@VirginActiveUK) June 2, 2020
— Intel (@intel) June 2, 2020
We are using this time to make space for meaningful conversations about how we can and should move forward in solidarity and give our teams time to reflect, connect and mobilize.
— WeddingWire (@WeddingWire) June 1, 2020
— Verizon (@Verizon) June 2, 2020
Why it’s important:
If you are posting in solidarity for #BlackoutTuesday please refrain from using the # BlackLivesMatter or limit to your profile photo.
We want to preserve the live accounts, information and resources available to fight racism and injustice. https://t.co/46hdnSeH6v
— SoundCloud (@SoundCloud) June 2, 2020
Microsoft announced that it would “use [its] platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community” at its organization:
At this time, we will be using our platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community at Microsoft.
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) June 1, 2020
At this time, we will be using our platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community at Microsoft. pic.twitter.com/r7ltlxVnHB
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) June 1, 2020
At this time, we will be using our platform to amplify voices from the Black and African American community at Microsoft. pic.twitter.com/tMXGDTKoWv
— Microsoft (@Microsoft) June 1, 2020
Microsoft’s Xbox Twitter account is standing in solidarity with the effort:
Xbox stands together with our fans, creators, colleagues, friends, and the entire African American & Black Community against systemic racism and injustice.
— Xbox ANZ (@XboxANZ) June 1, 2020
Many organizations issue annual diversity and inclusion reports and are actively working to improve their goals, reporting and accountability.. No matter your goals or active programs, surveying employees is a crucial element in evaluating the culture of your workplace and where you’re at in your D&I journey.
PeopleGoal Solutions included a list of the top 10 questions to include on your employee survey:
Make sure your survey is short and straightforward to increase participation, and also follow up with acknowledgement and action after you receive employee feedback.
CRISIS LEADERSHIP BOARD
Looking for more insight on how to address the current global crisis and lead your organization into a strong recovery?
Join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board to network and brainstorm with peers, get the latest intelligence and research, and start to strategize for the future of your organization.
Facebook pledges $10M as employees stage virtual ‘walk out’
The social media platform’s co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, committed a $10 million donation to fighting against racism in a post on his personal timeline:
The pain of the last week reminds us how far our country has to go to give every person the freedom to live with dignity…
In his post, Zuckerberg wrote:
It’s clear Facebook also has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias.
The organizations fighting for justice also need funding, so Facebook is committing an additional $10 million to groups working on racial justice. We’re working with our civil rights advisors and our employees to identify organizations locally and nationally that could most effectively use this right now.
However, several Facebook employees staged a virtual walk out in protest to Zuckerberg’s lack of action over a post made by President Donald J. Trump.
Disagreement came from employees at all levels of the company, including some senior staff. Particular criticism was levelled at Zuckerberg’s personal decision to leave up the Facebook version of a tweet sent by Trump in which the president appeared to encourage police to shoot rioters. By contrast, Twitter hid the message behind a warning.
Here are a few of the tweets from employees:
Censoring information that might help people see the complete picture *is* wrong. But giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy. I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen.
— Andrew (@AndrewCrow) June 1, 2020
I don't know what to do, but I know doing nothing is not acceptable. I'm a FB employee that completely disagrees with Mark's decision to do nothing about Trump's recent posts, which clearly incite violence. I'm not alone inside of FB. There isn't a neutral position on racism.
— Stirman (@stirman) May 30, 2020
Why it matters: As social media platforms continue to struggle with stopping fake news, misinformation and inflammatory content that goes against their terms of service, they’ll also have to reconcile employee views and beliefs with their decisions. You can do the same, regardless of your organization or industry. Check in with your employees and see how they’re doing, along with how they envision being a part of your values and mission.
The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the landscape for communicators and PR pros. More than ever before, communicators must gain key skill sets and employ strategic communications and media relations strategies to boost their organizations’ coverage, reputation and overall brand.
Learn what the 315 communicators we surveyed say about what parts of the PR function are more important than ever, how to adjust for COVID-19, and more with our free report revealing insights that can help you perservere during this uncertain time.
Starbucks recently hosted a virtual conversation with 2,000 of its partners to discuss racial injustice along with the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
The path forward requires open and honest conversations about racial injustices. On Saturday, Starbucks partners came together in an open forum to listen and support one another.
It’s going to take each of us to drive necessary change. https://t.co/ZUlBV9MgFF
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) June 2, 2020
In an open letter to its partners, Starbucks’ chief executive, Kevin Johnson, wrote:
We have always believed in being a different kind of company. Today was an example of that—and we will continue having these conversations.
… While we may not have all the answers, we know the path forward requires these courageous conversations with one another. As I shared at the close of today’s meeting it is, in part, our promise to one another as partners to live our mission and values daily. We are a family. We act with empathy and compassion. And we honor our differences, always. We uplift each other. Because that is what true Starbucks partners do.
Aside from your statements and plans of action, consider how you can invite your employees and other stakeholders to hold conversations that serve to inspire, uplift, support and heal one another through this difficult time.
WHAT YOU SAID
We asked whether it was a better move for brands and brand managers to speak up during the protests and riots that have swept the nation following the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Is it time to voice anger and dismay or to make space for disenfranchised voices?
Over half (57%) said it was important make a statement while 43% gave preference to making space for others. Whatever action you decide to take, make sure it comes from a place of authenticity for your organization and its core values.
During this period of civic unrest, protest and clashes with police, brand managers have a choice to make.
Is now a time to speak up or a time to stay quiet to make space for other voices? Share your thoughts with out hashtag #DailyScoop or weigh in below.
— PR Daily (@PRDaily) June 1, 2020
Here are some of the arguments in favor of making a statement:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
— Pasha Tabrizian (@AmirPTabrizian) June 1, 2020
Now is the time to make a statement. Brands need to #commit.
— Sara Singh (@SaraSingh728) June 1, 2020
Staying quiet to make space for other voices may mean other voices will note your silence.
— Molly McPherson, APR (@MollyMcPherson) June 1, 2020
Others offer caution for brands who enter into the conversation thoughtlessly:
There's much to say here. I'll keep it short: Companies need to understand that this is not a one and done conversation that needs to be had. The violence and unrest we are seeing are a result of injustices that have occurred over time.
— L. Victoria Anderson (@LetToriTellit) June 1, 2020
I think this is a situation where if you make a statement ONLY if it's adding value to the conversation.
— it’s beth booker…rocking a mask (@itsbethbooker) June 1, 2020
Let’s talk about how we are making changes in our own backyards in response to the current cultural moment we are seeing. Has this period of protest and unrest changed how you are thinking about diversity, inclusion and equity?
Have the past few days inspired your your organization to reevaluate diversity, inclusion and equity in your organization? Share your thoughts with our hashtag #DailyScoop.
— PR Daily (@PRDaily) June 2, 2020
Let us know your thoughts by tweeting us with the #DailyScoop or voting in our poll.