There have been many tragic murders before it. Outrage and protests and hand-wringing followed. But this one spurred something in millions unlike any other example of police brutality.
With the death of George Floyd, something snapped us to attention. It may be driven by the shocking video or his plea for life. But this time was different. We saw it in the streets of nearly every major city across the country, and in conversations with each other. And we saw it here in our agency.
Centuries of racism, ignorance and apathy have enabled discrimination and led to seismic racial gaps in education, healthcare, employment and income, and disparities in justice.
And it forced us to look in the mirror. We realized that CTP is part of the problem.
Sure, we’re angered by discrimination. We help causes and organizations that make a difference in underserved communities, and support kids who live in really challenging environments. We tell important stories for clients, like Eastern Bank, that are committed to change. But it’s not enough. Not nearly enough.
We have been too passive in the areas that can stimulate change, especially in creating economic opportunity and careers for minorities. We have not done enough to make ours a diverse workplace. Or a diverse industry.
And we look at the enormity of the problem and ask what can we, as an agency, do? How can CTP answer the call?
It starts with listening. As a colleague said, “At our core, we are a communications agency. And the heartbeat of that is understanding people, emotion and the human condition. We can not effectively do that for ourselves, for our clients, unless we take the time to listen and learn about everything – not just the easy things. That should be a big part of our commitment.”
And it will. But it will be just the start.
We don’t know exactly what it will look like, but we know our response will be layered and tangible and enduring. We are having meaningful discussions within CTP and with people who better understand the struggles. We are creating working groups to develop answers that will be implemented, and we expect to be held accountable. We won’t be alone in that commitment. We are seeing other organizations, larger and smaller than us, who’ve had enough. Action must follow.