Content warning: racism, Islamophobia, death
On June 8, our chapter was joined by Jeff Preston, PhD, assistant professor of Disability Studies at King’s University College, who gave an informative and inspiring presentation about the importance of representing diversity in communications.
This event took place just days after a London family was targeted – four of them killed and a child seriously injured – in what police described as an attack based on their faith. It was just over a week since we learned that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found buried on the site of a residential school in British Columbia. And it was just a few days before another mass grave was found at a residential school in Manitoba.
These events have left many of us grieving, angry, and reflecting on the state of our world. I have spent a lot of time reading and listening to the stories shared by people who experience racism and discrimination regularly. I ask myself “What can I do?” and I continue to look for ways to be part of the solution.
As communicators, we are influencers. Through the words we write and the images we share, we help shape a narrative. We have an opportunity to be leaders in ensuring all members of our community are represented in our stories, articles, videos, social media campaigns, and everything we do.
IABC has made a commitment to diversity and inclusion. At the international level, a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force is in place to develop recommendations for how to integrate diversity and inclusion into the fabric of our organization and culture. Locally, IABC Toronto led the way for a partnership with the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms (CCPRF) and the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) to conduct a nation-wide diversity and inclusion survey for PR professionals. The full report of the survey (Diversity and inclusion survey) is available on our website and the results show:
- Diversity at junior, intermediate and senior levels – but it usually stops near the top
- Current employers credited with creating inclusive, positive environments
- BIPoC professionals feel trusted, valued, respected and accepted – but with pressure to conform
- High pride, lower satisfaction among BIPoC professionals
- Unconscious bias, microaggressions reported by many BIPoC professionals
- A gender gap on mental, physical and emotional health
This survey provided valuable insight and reinforces the need “to increase the diversity in the profession at all levels, to remove barriers to the advancement of BIPoC professionals, to improve the inclusion experience of employees and members, to provide ongoing training and education to professionals, and to advocate for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in our employers and organizations.”
IABC London joins in this commitment and we look forward to actively participating in this important conversation.
Megan Zinn, Chapter President, IABC London