Here we are in 2021, another holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what his movement meant and still means to the world. Our planet has been forever changed by his message of non-violence in the face of brutality and inequality.
And in that message was the genuine, tangible urgency behind underrepresented and economically disadvantaged people being acknowledged that they mattered and they were worthy of the opportunity to grab a part of the American Dream that makes the promise of our existence unique throughout the Earth.
Because of the toil of so many that have gone before, we live in a time like no other.
The movement against systemic racism and injustice has become mainstream. Now corporately, we see organizations that have made it part of their identity to stand with Black Lives Matter and like organizations dedicated to rooting out injustice.
This has manifested in corporations carving space for Diversity and Inclusion departments and/or people entrenched in the work of Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, aiming to address issues that have arisen due to the lack of representation of Blacks and other people of color.
We who live within this space we call “media” have seen companies leverage some access to content creators of color to signal that they see and hear these diverse populations and understand their part in this movement towards a more just society.
While we as people of color who operate in this space see brands and media buyers deploy campaigns via ad agencies that utilize content creators of color – aka influencers – we must continue to do the work to educate and push for more consistent diverse marketing campaign representation with brands, media buyers and ad partners with whom we engage.
The digital age in which we live extends and quickens these campaigns’ reach – the world over consumes them again and again through access to different mediums and available methods via technology. This brings unprecedented opportunities for profitability, but it brings a tremendous responsibility as corporate citizens.
We know the truth of the statement, “If you can see it, you can be it.”
Helping brands execute marketing campaigns that reflect the rich diversity that inhabits our world is grounded in the reality that it’s profitable because it acknowledges that the more population groups that are engaged in these running conversations – i.e., marketing campaigns – the more we’re helping create the environment in which trust is established for those who are spoken to decide with their wallets.
It also creates a residual effect of engaging the hearts and minds of people who can see
themselves in a way they haven’t seen before to dream the kind of dreams that can change the trajectory of their very lives and the lives of those they impact.
When multiplied, again and again, it changes the world in big and small ways, which also plant seeds that bear the fruit of opportunity for present and future generations of professionals like ourselves. And isn’t that part of what continues the work that embodies the dream that Martin Luther King himself articulated while he was here among us?
To this end, we must continue to push our brand, media, and agency partners forward. It is this very work that perhaps in some small way in our life allows us to realize the manifestation of “the riches of freedom and the security of justice” that Dr. King so eloquently spoke of for all people almost 60 years ago in his “I Have A Dream” speech.
If we are to stay relevant and necessary to our partners in this space, we must make this our clarion call – that Diversity and Inclusion is the joyful, purposeful work of our generation and that our media and corporate partners’ relevance and destiny is tied to their ability to deliver campaigns that reflect this reality.