PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA:
“The recent tragic deaths and violence in the United States and elsewhere have shone a light on the racial inequality that persists all around the world. We must confront the cold fact that in our society today, it remains much more difficult for some people to succeed than for others – all too often based on the colour of one’s skin. In the UK, race hate crime reported incidence has increased significantly, with noticeably more reports of religious intolerance over recent years.
“It is incumbent on each of us to speak out against injustice, call out racism, and work towards a better society with opportunity for all based on fairness alone. That responsibility falls on all of us, both in our organisations and our communities. The responsibility to do more lies with us all but falls with an especial weight upon the shoulders of communicators.
“Public relations, at its heart, is about change. The work we do changes attitudes, opinions, and behaviours. And our ability to carry this out ethically has never mattered more than it does today. We have a unique ability to inspire change and shift perceptions by focussing on reason, compassion, and empathy.
“As custodians of brands, organisations and influencers we also have a responsibility to ensure our clients and colleagues act with integrity. Racial equality is not a flag that can be picked up and waved by a brand or business one day and then forgotten the next. It is vital that we educate clients and colleagues on the context of and help them to understand how these affect their stakeholders and wider society.
“In our own industry, we have long lamented the appallingly low numbers of PR professionals from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. Over the years, progress has been made, but at a stubbornly slow rate. Just before COVID hit, we launched our schools campaign, to welcome more black and ethnic minority young people into our profession. That work will recommence as soon as it can – but we must do more.
“Over the coming weeks, we will showcase examples of diverse PR leaders from around the world working towards positive change. We will also establish an international group of leaders to take a long hard look at what our industry can do to change itself; and what it can do to help change the life-chances of the people who start out in life with the odds stacked against them from day one. And then we will implement its recommendations with resolve.”