Three years seems so long ago.
But, for DEI professionals like me, and people who identify with or belong to one of the diverse or historically marginalized communities, it is not.
Three years ago our nation saw the rise of the most wide-spread social justice movements since the days of segregation and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery in 2020 shocked our nation. Overcome with outrage and an exhausting battle for equity, millions protested. The reverberations were felt globally, inspiring many others in countries all around the world to raise their voices in the name of justice. That same year, a significant rise in attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders brought people to the streets again with demands for protection and change. And while all of this was going on, the global COVID-19 pandemic shed a light on the lack of attention to health equity issues within underserved communities, particularly those of color.
What has changed today? Honestly, not much. It is as volatile a time as ever and brands are trying to navigate it all.
We are in a very contentious time in our society where political issues have radicalized groups of people who are now rallying on social media, evoking brand boycotts, and even (in some cases) imposing threats and bringing physical harm to diverse communities. The LGBTQ+ community and its allies have been the most recent focus of hate. Brands are experiencing challenging times with potential threats to the bottom line, reputation issues, and lackluster DEI commitments.
So, it’s been three years. However, far from dissipating, expectations for positive change remain high. And even with the most recent brand reputation issues we’ve seen, our society is still resolutely seeking accountability and transparency from the brands they love and support. Corporate reputation is being threatened and intentional engagement has never been more important. Brands need to make fewer promises. Take more action. Establish real connections with diverse audiences. And make a lasting impact.
The need for DEI counseling is still important and necessary. And it should be ongoing, not one-off projects that are a temporary fix. The commitments need to be strong and established over time to effectively measure progress.
For more information and how you can learn more about Current please contact Rebecca K. Roussell, SVP, DEI Communications email@example.com.
Please revisit previous DEI-related content and resources:
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