We appreciate all of the organizations who have chosen to make tomorrow a day of reflection and learning about systemic racism. We are taking a different approach. We are giving our U.S. staff a Civic Action Day to be used tomorrow, during election season or another time before the end of 2020. Edelman will also embark on three other initiatives that utilize our convening power and ability to tell stories. Together these commitments total more than $1 million in donated services. Other regions throughout our network are also looking to identify local partners to help address racism and social injustices in their parts of the world.
First, we will support the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Our goal is to elevate the voices and stories of Black people in the media. The head of the NABJ said, “Edelman’s expertise at elevating important stories in the media is well-known. By amplifying success narratives, we hope to educate, inform and fuel conversation that will lead to positive change in the social justice arena. All of that while telling the truth about the very serious challenges in this country, and the commitment of many to address systemic racism.”
This is a vital service for Black reporters seeking to gain broader coverage without sensationalism. The data on coverage following protests in the weeks following the murder of George Floyd was stunning. A News Whip analysis conducted by Edelman on Wednesday showed that there were twice as many articles focused on looting and rioting than on peaceful protests and demonstrations (80,000 versus 38,000) and that those rioting articles were interacted with by 6.5 times more people. Clearly, the presence of diversity in the media impacts the way, how and what stories get told.
Second, we will partner with the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion group, which was founded by Tim Ryan, senior partner and Chairman, PwC U.S. We will be helping to formulate an agenda to change government policy on important areas such as policing. We will also aim to advance diversity and inclusion at all levels in the workplace.
Third, we will be a pro bono partner to the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, which combats mental health trauma in the Black community caused by systemic racism. The foundation was created by actress Taraji P. Henson in honor of her father who served in the Vietnam War and returned with mental health illness. Tracie Jensen, director of the Foundation, said, “Shining a light on issues that impact the mental health of Black people enables us to see and respond to the layers of darkness around it. Partnering with Edelman to expand our message will support those suffering in silence under the weight of racism and social injustice.”
I am so proud of our U.S. leadership team, notably Russell Dubner, U.S. CEO, Lisa Ross, U.S. COO, and Trisch Smith, global head of Diversity & Inclusion, for finding these worthy partners. We will make a difference by doing what we do best, story-telling and story-doing.
Richard Edelman is CEO.