“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaking on behalf of the PRSA Southern Arizona Chapter Board we recognize the inherent value in each person, regardless of race, age, gender or religion. Black lives matter. In order for all lives to experience justice, freedom and happiness, we must support our Black community members.

Social injustice is a complex issue and the path for moving from dialogue to action has multiple right answers. During last week’s SoAZ board meeting we talked about the many ways we – both as PR professionals advising our clients/organizations and as individuals – can choose to respond. We had varying ideas but there were two common themes. 

First, lead with empathy. 

Many in our community are hurt, angry and confused. It’s important that when we engage with others, we do so with consideration and respect. 

Second, take action when you witness injustice. 

The YWCA USA explains it as being an ally – someone who chooses to stand for and with diverse communities by taking tangible, ongoing actions to dismantle systems of oppression. As shown here taking action can begin with listening, getting educated and speaking up.  

As professional communicators we have the necessary skills to amplify this message. And to quote Anita Ford Saunders, APR, BEPS and PRSA National Diversity & Inclusion Committee member: “Whatever you have, leverage it for good for ALL. If you are in a position of leadership, you should be leading.” 

For several years, reflecting exemplary leadership in diversity and inclusion has been a priority for the National PRSA Board. And the updated 2020-2022 PRSA Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Strategic Plan released in May will continue to guide our Membership toward increasing awareness and understanding within our organization.

From a local perspective, in October our Chapter has planned to celebrate Diversity & Inclusion month with focused programming and communications. I invite your suggestions for presenters or activities.

But this matter warrants more than just a designated month. To help ensure D&I remains a focal point for our Chapter and that we follow the themes noted above, I’m proposing that the 2021 Board slate include a new dedicated position. As we develop the roles and responsibilities of the Diversity & Inclusion Director, we will seek input from National PRSA, our local members and community allies to identify needs, wants and areas for growth.

Please contact me at prsasouthernazchapter@gmail.com if you’re interested in getting involved with either of these initiatives. 

We can do better. We will do better. Together.

Meredith Ford

2020 PRSA Southern Arizona Chapter President