A message to the PRSA Richmond Community
Right now, we are seeing the horrible acts of violence and death unfold across America. It’s affecting everyone, even here in our city. Distressing times like these spark many different emotions including sadness, anger, fear and confusion. The protests that we’re seeing are not just stemming from the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor or Tony McDade. Rather, they are resulting from unsolved issues of racial and civil injustice across this nation, which we’ve been struggling with for generations.
PRSA Richmond especially mourns for our African-American members and all of those affected by this horrible situation. This will remain with us, even if, and when, the protests subside. What can we, as a chapter, do to uphold love, trust and safety among those most affected? We need to hear from you.
We at PRSA Richmond uphold equity and ethical standards. We adhere to a Code of Ethics where we uphold trust and understanding, while serving the public good. Our chapter’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Promise empowers all members of PRSA Richmond to pledge and promise to make this organization as diverse, equitable and inclusive as possible.
These standards and promises fall on each and every one of us. Now more than ever. We ask that you join PRSA Richmond in engaging in productive, honest and empathetic conversation on what we can do to strengthen and support our diverse communities. Here are some areas where you can lend your voice.
Join the PRSA DEI Committee
We at PRSA have a committee dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion. This committee needs volunteers like you to help develop programming, networking opportunities, educational opportunities and other ways to include diversity and inclusion in our PRSA Richmond efforts. If you are interested and want to join, contact our current DEI chair, Patrice Lewis at Patrice.email@example.com.
DEI Strategic Planning
Earlier this year, our chapter’s DEI Committee initiated steps to put our DEI Promise into action by developing a DEI Strategic Plan. This yearlong process will engage chapter members to give feedback on actions we can take in tackling issues that are most important to our diverse audiences. This is where you can help.
- We’re looking to interview chapter members touching on all diverse areas such as race, religion, age, gender, politics, physical disabilities and sexual orientation. Our goal is to receive your feedback on how the chapter is doing and what we can do to improve on our engagement with members from diverse groups. We want honest feedback, and we want to make sure that your voice is heard and included. Your voice will help shape the future of this organization.
- If you have thoughts to contribute, and would like to be interviewed for the DEI strategic planning, please email Patrice Lewis, DEI Chair, Lewis@sirhq.com
- Also, to help build the DEI strategic plan, we will be sending out a survey to all PRSA members, exploring DEI sentiment around the chapter. This is an opportunity for everyone to participate, especially if you are uncomfortable being interviewed but want to contribute to the success of the organization and the plan. We want to hear from as many of you as possible, across all areas of our chapter and allow you an opportunity to help shape the future of PRSA Richmond. PRSA Richmond works best when we work together and engage as many people as possible. Be on the lookout for the survey, in the coming weeks.
Upcoming DEI Events
Our chapter’s programming and events afford us opportunities to hear from thought leaders. As it relates to our June 24 virtual lunch program on the Impacts of PR Trends Today featuring J.R. Hipple from SIR, we are revisiting ways that J.R. can provide a closer look at the events unfolding and how we can prepare for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future. Be on the lookout for more information within the next few days regarding this new lunch program.
Where Do We Go From Here?
While talk is great, actions can be game-changers. Here are things each of us can do in the days and weeks ahead.
- Join an organization or donate to an organization that is actively addressing systemic racial issues (some example organizations are listed below).
- Volunteer your time/resources to addressing these issues. This includes working with nonprofit groups and providing volunteer PR/Communications services (some example organizations are listed below).
- Read literature that addresses systemic racism and its effects on our current day lives and share what you learn with friends and family. We have a list below that you can use.
- Check your friends and family members who continue to use racist and supremacist rhetoric. You can do it in a loving manner, but let them know you are uncomfortable and will not tolerate it.
- Vote and challenge candidates, making sure they address issues regarding supremacy and racism.
- Donate to a campaign that aligns with viewpoints that address supremacy and racism.
- Hold local officials accountable for their current actions and ways they are contributing to the narrative.
- Talk to your children about racism and supremacy. Here are 31 Children’s books that support conversations on race, racism, and resistance.
- Boldly denounce racism and supremacy. Not just quietly, outwardly and publicly.
- Run for office, become a lobbyist, or donate resources to lobbying organizations to help affect change. Use your position to honestly address these situations.
- Join a citizen advisory council or other board to make sure that they are operating in ways that address supremacy and racism.
- Challenge and hold your employers/employees (church leaders, etc.) accountable for their language, their ideals, and their systems.
- Develop real friendships with members of historically underrepresented groups.
- Register people to vote and help organizations that register people to vote.
- Be the change, start to evaluate how you contribute to the narrative and work on yourself.
As we reflect on what’s happening this year, let’s remember to give understanding and compassion to anyone who may be experiencing distress, fear, anger and sadness in these troubling times. PRSA Richmond is here for you. Through this, let’s emerge stronger and let’s demonstrate our commitment to ethics and diversity in communications.
President, PRSA Richmond
Below are some example organizations that you can get involved with or learn more information.
(Caveat, this is not an endorsement of these organizations but a sample list of organizations that are participating in race, equity, and inclusion initiatives).
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
- Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI)
- Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project
- Happily Natural Day
- Girls For a Change
- Legal Aid Justice Center
- NAACP RVA
- Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
- Diversity Richmond
- Richmond Memorial Health Foundation
- Richmond For All
- Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals
- Virginia Poverty Law Center
- Richmond Peace Education Center
- Virginia Civic Engagement Table
- Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities
- TMI Consulting
- Dialectix Consulting
Some literature you can read:
- How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race by Jesmyn Ward
- A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zim
- Lies my Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen
- Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race by Derald Wing Sue
- Towards the Other America: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter by Chris Crass
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
- Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
- The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
- Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
- African-American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz
- Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that the Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
- No Light, but Fire: How to Lead Meaningful Race Conversations in the Classroom by Matthew R. Kay
Ways to support:
- Patronize – especially if they don’t have a fundraiser; check if they have an online store or gift cards
Black-owned Restaurants through Richmond Black Restaurant Experience
Black and veteran owned small business
Coliseum Loft Deli and Market
Venmo @coliseumdeli, gofundme pending
Wallers and Company Jewelers
804 Tobacco Shop & Convenience Mart
Richmond Dentistry for Children