THE STATE OF THE STORY | TRENDS REPORT

19 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth

19 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth

19 Ways to Celebrate Juneteenth

A list of 19 things leaders can do on Juneteenth to demonstrate their commitment to change.

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A list of 19 things leaders can do on Juneteenth to demonstrate their commitment to change.
Warning: No excuses necessary! Most free and all are meaningful.

First off, Happy Juneteenth!  As part of the celebration, we at Magnet Media are making Juneteenth a permanent company holiday, and viewing it as a day to celebrate and reflect. We’ve also been asked by many leaders in our community (of marketers, storytellers and business strategists) to share how we’re celebrating. So as our first reflection, we’ve pulled together a list of 19 ways to celebrate...on June 19th. 

 Here’s our view: it’s been a tragic, painful, and exhausting period.  As awful as this moment is, at work, it’s been encouraging to see that racism and diversity are gaining renewed focus...and in some cases, real change is starting. After recent protests over the senseless murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery –and now Rayshard Brooks, and so many others not caught on video...for leaders, this moment provides an opportunity to commit to taking action, to accelerate our anti-racist journey.  For both ourselves and our organizations.

 I know many leaders have expressed to me personally that they’re scared.  I appreciate these are not easy times, and nor is there a simple solution.  But as a leader, there’s a clear way to address your fear head-on: let’s all avoid performative allyship and turn the lens on our own behavior, to move from words to take action. (Special thanks to Fortune’s Ellen McGirt for her ongoing commitment to educating us on tough topics.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve set aside time everyday to ask myself hard questions: how can I do more? To commit to more concrete diversity hiring goals? to foster a more inclusive culture within our team, and be a better ally? How do we use this opportunity to better ourselves and our organization, to become more supportive of black members throughout our community? (All members: leadership, staff, clients, and contractors). What is the most impactful work we can do as a team to educate ourselves and create consequential, lasting change? To use our storytelling superpowers to tell more powerful, untold stories?  

So many brands have responded with emails or social media moments that are supportive and powerful.  But on their own, these marketing exercises are superficial. Making donations can be significant —but on their own writing checks can distance us from engaging with the real, sustained work of personal growth, and of committing to a lifelong journey of anti-racism.

I was interviewed by Callie Schweitzer, Senior News Editor for Marketing, LinkedIn News. Here’s what I shared: “Not a single brand would stand up and say we’ve nailed it, we have a perfectly inclusive culture, we’re sustainable, our supply chain is perfect...The standard is not perfection – the question is: are you on a journey to continuous improvement? Things like changing your tagline are only important if they’re followed up with other more meaningful commitments.”

A list of 19 things leaders can do on Juneteenth to demonstrate their commitment to change.
Warning: No excuses necessary! Most free and all are meaningful.

First off, Happy Juneteenth!  As part of the celebration, we at Magnet Media are making Juneteenth a permanent company holiday, and viewing it as a day to celebrate and reflect. We’ve also been asked by many leaders in our community (of marketers, storytellers and business strategists) to share how we’re celebrating. So as our first reflection, we’ve pulled together a list of 19 ways to celebrate...on June 19th. 

 Here’s our view: it’s been a tragic, painful, and exhausting period.  As awful as this moment is, at work, it’s been encouraging to see that racism and diversity are gaining renewed focus...and in some cases, real change is starting. After recent protests over the senseless murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery –and now Rayshard Brooks, and so many others not caught on video...for leaders, this moment provides an opportunity to commit to taking action, to accelerate our anti-racist journey.  For both ourselves and our organizations.

 I know many leaders have expressed to me personally that they’re scared.  I appreciate these are not easy times, and nor is there a simple solution.  But as a leader, there’s a clear way to address your fear head-on: let’s all avoid performative allyship and turn the lens on our own behavior, to move from words to take action. (Special thanks to Fortune’s Ellen McGirt for her ongoing commitment to educating us on tough topics.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve set aside time everyday to ask myself hard questions: how can I do more? To commit to more concrete diversity hiring goals? to foster a more inclusive culture within our team, and be a better ally? How do we use this opportunity to better ourselves and our organization, to become more supportive of black members throughout our community? (All members: leadership, staff, clients, and contractors). What is the most impactful work we can do as a team to educate ourselves and create consequential, lasting change? To use our storytelling superpowers to tell more powerful, untold stories?  

So many brands have responded with emails or social media moments that are supportive and powerful.  But on their own, these marketing exercises are superficial. Making donations can be significant —but on their own writing checks can distance us from engaging with the real, sustained work of personal growth, and of committing to a lifelong journey of anti-racism.

I was interviewed by Callie Schweitzer, Senior News Editor for Marketing, LinkedIn News. Here’s what I shared:  “Not a single brand would stand up and say we’ve nailed it, we have a perfectly inclusive culture, we’re sustainable, our supply chain is perfect...The standard is not perfection – the question is: are you on a journey to continuous improvement? Things like changing your tagline are only important if they’re followed up with other more meaningful commitments.”

A list of 19 things leaders can do on Juneteenth to demonstrate their commitment to change.
Warning: No excuses necessary! Most free and all are meaningful.

First off, Happy Juneteenth! As part of the celebration, we at Magnet Media are making Juneteenth a permanent company holiday, and viewing it as a day to celebrate and reflect. We’ve also been asked by many leaders in our community (of marketers, storytellers, and business strategists) to share how we’re celebrating. So as our first reflection, we’ve pulled together a list of 19 ways to celebrate...on June 19th. 

Here’s our view: it’s been a tragic, painful, and exhausting period.  As awful as this moment is, at work, it’s been encouraging to see that racism and diversity are gaining renewed focus...and in some cases, real change is starting. After recent protests over the senseless murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery –and now Rayshard Brooks, and so many others not caught on video...for leaders, this moment provides an opportunity to commit to taking action, to accelerate our anti-racist journey.  For both ourselves and our organizations.

I know many leaders have expressed to me personally that they’re scared.  I appreciate these are not easy times, and nor is there a simple solution.  But as a leader, there’s a clear way to address your fear head-on: let’s all avoid performative allyship and turn the lens on our own behavior, to move from words to take action. (Special thanks to Fortune’s Ellen McGirt for her ongoing commitment to educating us on tough topics.)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve set aside time everyday to ask myself hard questions: how can I do more? To commit to more concrete diversity hiring goals? to foster a more inclusive culture within our team, and be a better ally? How do we use this opportunity to better ourselves and our organization, to become more supportive of black members throughout our community? (All members: leadership, staff, clients, and contractors). What is the most impactful work we can do as a team to educate ourselves and create consequential, lasting change? To use our storytelling superpowers to tell more powerful, untold stories?  

So many brands have responded with emails or social media moments that are supportive and powerful.  But on their own, these marketing exercises are superficial. Making donations can be significant —but on their own writing checks can distance us from engaging with the real, sustained work of personal growth, and of committing to a lifelong journey of anti-racism.

I was interviewed by Callie Schweitzer, Senior News Editor for Marketing, LinkedIn News. Here’s what I shared: “Not a single brand would stand up and say we’ve nailed it, we have a perfectly inclusive culture, we’re sustainable, our supply chain is perfect...The standard is not perfection – the question is: are you on a journey to continuous improvement? Things like changing your tagline are only important if they’re followed up with other more meaningful commitments.”

1 Celebrate

While it may be new to us, Juneteenth has been celebrated by others for years. Here are other ideas for how to celebrate.

2 Reflect

True reflection takes dedicated, quality time.  We’re taking the day off to give ourselves that time to reflect in a focused way. If you’re a leader, why not give your team the day off –not just this year, but as an official company holiday, permanently?

3 Unlearn

We’ve all grown up in a society that is systematically racist  (worth watching!). How do you break your implicit bias patterns? Here are the lists of resources that are there to help us understand the history of racial injustice.

4 Learn

It’s important to educate yourself and to diversify your sources of information and inspiration. Read about different perspectives, backgrounds, cultures. Follow publications that regularly feature Black stories and amplify Black voices. Here are a few amazing sources we recommend.

Top Book Lists:

Publications:

Here are a few recent articles and resources that I found instructive:

5 Listen

Despite the lack of commuting in our lives, we still love ourselves some podcasts. We polled our team, and here are some of our top picks…(full disclosure, there are several from NPR, whose leadership we featured in our March event on Podcasting, as part of our The State of the Story salon series)

Informative Shows

Featuring Black Podcast Producers

6 Watch

These films and shorts are worth watching at any time, but especially now.

7 Teach 

Learning and unlearning starts at home. Pass the knowledge to the next generation by educating the kids in your life with these children’s books.

8 #GiveBlack
9 Hire

This is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts, as we’ve hired diverse creative storytellers all over the world for 20 years, and have worked with one of our favorite startups, Greenhouse, since they were formed to help the world get great at hiring.  (Full disclosure, we have a unique relationship with Greenhouse.)  

Throughout 2020 (and beyond) we’ll be partnering with a number of brands and fellow creative community leaders to improve the diversity of our own organization and our industry. Watch This Space. In the meantime, here are a few resources to start you on your journey of diversifying:

10 Mentor

Mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success for others. It’s also historically been a biased system, where privileged people who have access to networks are able to find mentors; and those who do not are excluded.  Building on our history of expanding the voices within the 3 communities in which we work: the creative community, the marketing community, and the startup world, we are supporting several different mentoring efforts.

  • Jessica McGlory’s original concept to #PAYINGITFORWARD. Launched by Kate Huyett, CMO of Bombas and diversity hiring leader. This is an incredibly exciting, fast-growing grassroots campaign that’s only a few weeks old but caught on among C-Suite / senior leaders everywhere. I signed up the first day, and when I checked back it had 100+ C-suite leaders...a few days later there were 300 leaders...and now it’s over 800 C-suite leaders who have volunteered. Amazing!
    1. It’s a simple idea: give your time and your expertise.  Kate makes it easy by providing a place to sign up and add your calend.ly link.  
    2. Are you a black person who could use better access to senior leaders? Here’s who is participating. Use this sheet to find the person or area of expertise they’re offering, and there’s a link where you can sign up to meet them.
  • We’re also mentoring startup founders from diverse backgrounds through the TechStars Mentorship Program
  • And we have a long-standing history of supporting female filmmakers and women of color through hiring directors at Chicken & Egg.
11 Support

Providing support is an area that doesn’t require tremendous time or money. It requires thoughtfulness on where you can stand up for your colleagues, speak to others who are not being supportive, and be intentional around where you can make the biggest impact.

Here are amazing areas we’re grateful to be able to provide some support:

12 Amplify / Acknowledge

If you’re a storyteller, ensure you’re including black voices in your stories. Tag black leaders and presenters from your community of recent conversations - link to their sites and/or LinkedIn profiles in our post.  If you speak on panels, ensure there are black people on every panel and event. If you create paid content, consider ungating or not putting behind a paywall your best articles on racial injustice, racism, diversity, and inclusion or featuring black talent. Here are some other inspiring amplification efforts:

  • #ShareTheMicNow - Black women speak from the Instagram accounts of white women with large platforms to amplify their voices and encourage this recreation with hashtag #KeepSharingTheMic.
  • Steven Wolfe Pereira has been posting on LinkedIn featuring profiles of senior executives he admires who happen to be black This was designed to combat the excuse that you cannot find black people to join your board or lead your company.  But it’s also inspiring for up-and-coming black people in the workforce.
  • Nominate Black speakers for events through CommerceNext (they'll be sharing the list with others).
  • Use hashtag #blackandbrilliant to nominate the brilliant Black people across the industries to shine the light on the talent who usually gets a lot less attention. The movement started because many leaders complained about the lack of Black talent. Complaints = excuses...and excuses = inaction.  No more excuses! 
13 Shop #BuyBlack
  • Support black businesses. Find them on WeBuyBlack, The Black Wallet, and Official Black Wall Street. Another great list is here.
  • #TuesdaysTogether by Amistad (the division of HarperCollins): “Our goal is to amplify black voices. With that in mind, we are introducing #TuesdaysTogether! Every Tuesday we will be spotlighting one of our favorite Black authors, bookstores, bookstagrammers, and more as a way to promote, educate, and build community.⁣”
  • #BlackoutBestsellerList #BlackPublishingPower: “To demonstrate our power and clout in the publishing industry, Saturday June 13 – Saturday June 20, we encourage you to purchase any two books by Black writers. Our goal is to Blackout bestseller lists with Black voices.”
14 Invest

 If you’re an investor, follow in the footsteps of these funds (and these) and individuals by being intentional and public about your investments:

15 Sponsor

Our mission is to tell stories that matter and work on behalf of many of the world’s fastest-moving brands. Let’s be honest: it can be hard to separate the signal from the noise in this environment.  So here’s one way we’re shining a light on the brands that are supporting their marketing efforts with true commitments to change. 

  • We’ve joined The Knight Foundation and others to sponsor a Data Journalism Fellow for Summer 2020 at The Plug “to collect, synthesize, and report on our findings as part of our Tech Statements project. If you or your company is interested in becoming a founding partner of our inaugural fellowship program, sponsor a student here.” Sherrell and her team are amazing. Please join us!
  • From The Plug: “Quick update, since releasing our Tech Company Statements database last weekend, we've been learning about the incredible efforts of others to track statements vs. actions in other industries, including gaming, beauty, Hollywood & media, music, and more. 
  • Check out these resources when you get some time. Add to them. Share them. And have them guide your purchasing decisions!
16 Protest
  • See our summit speaker and The State of the Story community member CNN’s guide to how you can protest safely and know your rights.
  • Reach out to your leaders —both political and business leaders. Call your representatives. It’s surprising how those actions matter. 
  • Sign petitions. Go on Change.org to create, sign, and share petitions to press for positive change.
  • And vote with your wallet: scrutinize the brands you buy from, and their hiring practices and supply chains. Each of us has power, and making your voice heard –in small and large ways– is important.
17 Dialog
  • There are different approaches as to how to set up a dialog on race that’s right for your organization, but we found this resource useful: How to have more productive conversations about race in the workplace.
  • Coordinate a speaker to present or host a conversation within your company, in your membership, or within a community organization where you’re active. 
18 Commit

Whatever you do for Juneteenth can’t be a short-term campaign, but to have an impact it needs to be a commitment to continuing diversity, equality, and inclusion.

19 Listen

I’m ending here so it stays with all of us...as this is where we all need to start. I get that it’s uncomfortable. It’s important to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Having open conversations about racism –starting with true listening– and setting aside time to create a safe space is key. One ProTip is to prepare for these conversations, create a safe environment, and ensure that these conversations –which can be tough, and even create a backlash– are led by a professional.

  • Coordinate a speaker/host a conversation within your company or in your membership or community organization. Three recent conversation facilitators I’ve heard –who have blown my mind with their practical insights and handling of ‘tough’ topics– are: Laura Mignott, Nicole Smart, and Piper Anderson. Highly recommend you engage them! They are all pros! 
  • Read Hey Mama’s blog post for How to Talk to Kids About Tough Topics.

 

I need to acknowledge others I’ve learned from and continue to every week. Many of them are life-long friends and others who have become company advisors, and members of our The State of the Story Community.  Thank you to the talented Black leaders in my life who have inspired, educated, and motivated me.  Knowing you is a true privilege, and having you in our community is a gift. Baratunde Thurston, Dara Treseder, Yvonne Welbon, Deirdre Findlay, Cheryl Overton, Kisha Imani Cameron, Michele T. Ghee, Keosha Burns, Kerel Cooper, Bozoma Saint John, Rodney Williams, Dee Poku, Thomas Allen Harris, Cavel KhanMichael Smith, Joy Altimare, Adrianne Smith, Jalina Stewart, Tina Wells, Kenrick Cato, Christian Borges, and Michelle Gadsden-Williams.

Finally:  What are you doing as a leader to celebrate Juneteenth? We’d love to hear from you!

We have a long way to go, but we’re excited to start. As a leader at Magnet Media, my focus is improving, continuously. I’m extremely proud of my colleagues, contributors, advisors and friends of Magnet who are taking a stand and committing to their own anti-racist journey.  This is a lifelong effort; but forming an actionable plan to facilitate diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments within our teams and communities is essential.  

Let’s go..!

 

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