State of Diversity in Public Relations
I want to start by saying I am a privileged individual. I grew up in a loving family with good economic status. I went to a predominantly white school and people with my skin color have been broadly represented in the media. I've never been discriminated against because of my skin color and I will never fully understand the injustice people of color have experienced.
However, I advocate for people of color and strive to find a future employer who values diversity and inclusion just as much as I do.
If you haven't noticed, we have experienced a lot in the last few months just from a PR standpoint. Even while the pandemic has decimated parts of the business, there's been a much-needed and robust response to concerns raised by Black Lives Matter: a global organization whose mission is to exterminate white supremacy and build local power to reconcile in violence inflicted on Black communities.
What is PRSA doing to show support?
According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the industry still struggles to attract young Black, Asian and Hispanic professionals to pursue public relations as their career of choice.
But the Diversity and Inclusion Committee (D&I) intends to do everything possible to improve consciousness through visibility in D&I standards, resources and practices.
D&I Committee works closely with the PRSA Foundation, which helps drive diversity within public relations by funding numerous research initiatives for underserved populations, PR firms and employees.
This October, PRSA is celebrating diversity and inclusion month. They intend to include webinars, Twitter chats, special events, and editorial coverage for people who would like to learn more.
What does the industry need to do to support long-term change?
Here are some tips the Taylor Bennett Foundation Alumni recommend:
Set targets to hire diverse talent, actively build leadership teams from different races and support organizations that encourage people of color to enter the communications industry.
Redress and discuss to reiterate support for diversity and reject racism.
Find the disconnect. It's not just about finding talent. It's about creating an environment where black talent feels welcome, seen and respected.
Look at your purpose more closely and ensure that you're not enforcing racist practices or stereotypes but are instead educated on how to stand up against racism.
Understand that diversity is a necessity rather than a trend.
Reach out and see the worth and value of diversity.
The moral of the story is that diversity is valuable for business as well as socially, politically and morally responsible in a free society. As public relations professionals, we represent people and brands from all different backgrounds and cultures. It’s our duty to see diversity as a requirement, not an option. I'm confident that conversations about diversity will continue to invoke action and inclusivity in the PR industry and I’m looking forward to the day when I see justice rather than inequality.
Morgan Hale is a senior from Middletown, Indiana, majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. Morgan is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.