It is not enough to just post a square image or share advocacy resources on social media.
This can be seen as performative, "armchair activism" or paying lip service to the long, hard work of a movement.
Being non-racist is not enough.
Being inclusive is not enough.
For causes that work to reduce stigmas (e.g., mental health awareness) or bring equality to marginalized groups (e.g., diversity and inclusion, anti-racism), these demand more than sharing social media content. They require real action to effect change.
Do not be silent.
Commit to doing more: to listen, learn, and be a better ally.
Real allyship requires work.
Before anything goes on social media, it should require the work below.
Center and hold space
- Recognize your own privileges and biases
- Take a moment to address your physical, emotional, and mental health
- Organize your efforts to contribute to causes in the ways listed below. Think about how you will take action on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.
- Recognize that friends, family, coworkers, partners, and other groups may be having a difficult time processing deeply divisive and traumatic events. See them, hear them, and support their needs.
- Educate yourself and others
- Consume media - books, films, podcasts - by members of the stigmatized group
- Discuss with friends, family, and coworkers. Have the tough, uncomfortable conversations. What do words like "inclusivity," "community," and "equality" bring to mind? How do they come to life in networks of people? What is missing?
- Donate to reputable organizations - research them
- Be careful of how hashtags are used in social media content. Hashtags are often used by communities to spread vital information; when irrelevant social content uses these hashtags, they clutter feeds and make it difficult to find the right information
- Sign reputable petitions - research them
- Tell friends, family, coworkers and the world what actions you are taking
- Publish social media content
- Pin social media content to the top of your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages, or otherwise prominently display content
- Change your social media profile and header images
- Hide or delete previous content to give more attention to advocacy content
- Do not publish new organic content and pause advertising efforts while publishing advocacy content
- Create templates and toolkits that others can use
- Actively share helpful information and resources
- Report bad actors to local authorities and news media
- Report social media users who use abusive, hateful, or other language
- Report social media users who perform spam, scams, phishing, or related behaviors
- You won't always be able to change the opinions of a social media user who expresses hateful or ignorant views. The best action for the safety of your physical, emotional, and mental health - and the well being of your social media community - may be to report and block these individuals.
Ask more of your company and others
- Does the company foster a culture of belonging and acceptance?
- Ask your company leaders what they are doing in response to a crisis or how they are supporting communities
- Does the company match donations to any organizations?
- Does the company offer discounts to any businesses?
- How does the company create a safe, shared space?
- Ask public and private companies what they are doing in response to a crisis or how they are supporting communities
- Does your company participate in or host awareness moments? Is there an awareness day, week, or month set by the company, community, state, or country?
- Give employees the space and time to support their communities, whether through activism, education, or spending time with their loved ones
- Push for inclusiveness in the company and the industry
- Listen and act on suggestions from community members on how to be a better partner in combating injustice
- Promote equality in the workplace through training and policies that promote diversity and inclusion
- Use company resources and communications platforms to support equality
- Review all company processes and touchpoints, from the language of job postings to emails and more
- Are people trained to combat racism and discrimination? How does this extend beyond just "bias" training?
- How diverse are the company and leadership ranks?
- What is the diversity of the recruiting pipeline?
- Is the company partnering with organizations and groups to ensure a diverse pipeline for every role?
- Is the company reviewing hiring practices and training hiring managers to reduce bias?
- Does the company encourage and expect employees to take time off to recharge, protest, or for other reasons? Are days off ever granted to the entire team?
- Does the company refuse to do business with people who harass, intimidate, bully or abuse employees?
- Does the company encourage its people to speak up about misconduct and not tolerate retaliation?
- Does the company have a diversity and inclusion team? What is its scope and influence?
- Are Employee Resource Group (ERG) leads compensated for their additional work?
- What action plans exist? How do these relate to goal-setting and accountability frameworks?
- How does the company use its platforms to highlight and support businesses and entrepreneurs?
- What formal structures does the company have to ensure it is hearing from the community?
- How does the company collaborate with external experts to identify ways to combat implicit or explicit bias, and to design strategies to change the written and unwritten rules in the industry?
- How does the company hold itself accountable to increasing diversity in its leadership teams, inclusive of underrepresented groups?
- Make a specific, measurable, and public commitment to improve representation at all levels of company staffing, especially Senior and Leadership positions
- Track and publicly report workforce diversity data on an annual basis to create accountability for the company and the industry
- Audit company policies and culture to ensure the environment we work in is more equitable and inclusive to a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives
- Provide extensive bias training to HR employees, all levels of management, all teams, and all employees
- Extend company outreach, partnership, and points of connection to a more diverse representation of colleges, universities, and art schools
- Expand residencies and internship programs to candidates with transferable skills who may not have taken a traditional educational path toward this company/field
- Create, fund, and support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
- Invest in management and leadership training, as well as mentorship, sponsorship, and other career development programs for Black and NBPOC employees
- Require all leadership to be active participants in company Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and tie success in those initiatives to bonus compensation
- Create a Diversity & Inclusion committee made up of Black and NBPOC employees to help shape diversity & inclusion policy and monitor its progress
- Establish a diversity review panel to stem the spread of stereotypes in creative work and ensure offensive or culturally insensitive work is never published
- Introduce a wage equity plan to ensure that Black women, Black men and people of color are being compensated fairly
Thank you for reading this note! If you found it helpful, please share it and follow or connect with me to learn more.
See more Field Notes here.