The #HoldThePRess Initiative was launched by four dynamic Black women and PR professionals (Sade Ayodele, Nysah Warren, Fatou Barry and Enoma Owens) determined to dismantle racial barriers in their industry (that’s only 8.3% Black according to Harvard Business Review’s analysis of federal labor statistics) in our new age of social change.
Over the past few months, brands, celebs and media personalities have looked to their PR agencies for statements in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and, sadly, many more in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Unfortunately, the staffs of these agencies don’t look like the people they’re being hired to represent during these culturally sensitive times.
Pulling inspiration from the #PullUpOrShutup campaign in the beauty industry, as well as the recent letter from the advertising community, the ambitious quartet hope to create meaningful change that starts with actionable steps that hold agencies accountable for recruiting and cultivating Black talent at ALL levels within their companies.
“As a Black professional, in any industry, it can be daunting to be the only person who looks like you in a room. In public relations, we are challenged daily with bringing our clients’ brands into the forefront of culture and creating amazing campaigns that are meant to tell the brand’s story, though the people telling that story aren’t always reflective of the target audience.
It is not enough to open the door for inclusion if your methods are performative, but rather the industry has to hold itself accountable to reflecting and cultivating true diversity and equity within its walls, at all levels,” said Hold The PRess organizers in a statement.
The initiative targets PR professionals with the goal of presenting asks and demands to agencies across the country in the coming weeks. These voices represent those that have been long silenced in the PR community and forced to create metaphorical tables of representation.
As companies continue to share their diversity plans and future steps, the ladies will be amplifying their message on Instagram in the spirit of transparency and accountability.