“Enough is enough” is not enough

Dear 4A’s members,

In this deeply painful year for our industry and our country, the past two weeks have been heartbreaking to bear. As a nation, together witnessing violence against Black Americans, we are all confronting shock and trauma that many endure every day: the unacceptable weaponization of racism against people of color and specifically the Black community.

Recent footage of violence—both implicit and explicit—against George Floyd, Chris Cooper, and Ahmaud Arbery embody in sickening detail the threats communities of color have felt for centuries. This footage makes injustice and horror impossible to avoid or deny, even for those who might prefer not to see it.

As an industry of problem-solvers, we need to focus our collective attention to meet the unique challenges of this moment. We have the power to influence and change the culture. That also means we have the responsibility to go beyond declaring racism unacceptable. To say “enough is enough” is not enough. We need to move beyond words to action.

To truly and meaningfully advocate for equality, equity, and justice, our industry must always strive to achieve the representation that reflects our society.

We must be unafraid to initiate important dialogue, even—especially—when dialogue is difficult. It’s only when we are uncomfortable that we can truly learn and grow. We hear and see our Black colleagues and stand up as anti-racist.

We must hire Black people. We must hear Black people. We must promote Black people. And we must ensure advertising includes everyone.

We need to stop relying on Black colleagues or people of color to identify the solutions. It’s up to all of us to play a role in stopping violence and dismantling racial division in our country. We call on all of our members to continue to do the work that will drive change.

Thank you to those who have shared perspectives and experiences with me and the 4A’s during this time. It’s clear to me that as a cisgender white woman, I have tremendous privilege in our society that I must use to be an ally to those who don’t experience this privilege—to always stand up for justice and fight injustice, and to speak up for those whose voices too often go unheard.

I hope you will tap the strength of our community for mutual support as friends, colleagues, and people. Whether you have questions about things you can do better or things we can do better, or just need to talk, we’re always here to support you.

Stay strong,