I want to take a moment to reflect on the virus that’s crippling our country. Not COVID-19, but the virus of venom, of violence, of racial inequality that has taken over our country. One for which a vaccine also doesn’t exist.
There is no simple solution for the tension we’re witnessing today. In order to ease it, it will be the job of every single one of us to work for racial, social, and economic justice: The only cure.
As we consider the position and responsibility of Austin Williams amidst these inequities, we realize we have been too silent and complacent.
By nature, advertising agencies are activists of change; social justice champions and creative problem solvers. It’s in our DNA to tackle problems with creative thinking and actionable results. As our tagline says, [WE CREATE] IDEAS THAT INSPIRE ACTION.
But unfortunately, how we’ve responded to the call to stand up against racial inequality hasn’t been all that inspiring.
We are by no means racist individuals; we abhor discrimination in any form. However, we have been passive in the areas that can stimulate change, especially in creating economic opportunity and careers for people of color. We have not done enough to make ours a diverse workplace or a diverse industry.
It’s no longer enough to say, “it’s hard to find diverse talent in our industry.” We have to find ways to create the opportunities for this to happen.
Admittedly, we don’t yet know what that looks like.
Since it’s critical to listen before we develop an action plan (lest it be tone deaf), we have researched important organizations that we should be listening to as we broaden our diversity perspective.
Perhaps we organize an internship program with high school students of color in key suppressed geographies in our Long Island region to introduce them to our industry and hold that internship while they go to college. Maybe we partner with organizations to provide access to communities and people who may not otherwise be able to experience the marketing field—and proactively invite them in.
I’m sure more ideas will be generated as we gain more insight to create actionable outcomes. But it will take more than one brain to come up with them.
Our ask, therefore, is this: That you consider your role to help achieve our goal of making this agency, and our industry, a more diverse one and in so doing, have a tangible impact on racial, social and economic injustices in this country.
Then we really will be the agency (and the industry) with ideas that inspire action.