Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Let's Ignite Change!

Injustice... Inequality… Black… Male… Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!  These are the words or phrases that are becoming all too common. Lately, it seems every time I turn on the news there has been another act of violence towards black men. This reminds me of a play I once watched entitled, The Day of Absence… a day when all the black people disappeared. Are we here? 

The male segment of the African American population is starting to disappear or go missing. Why are they starting to disappear? They are falling victim to police; they are involved in black on black crime; and they are dying from HIV and poor health decisions. 

According to the New York Times, In New York, almost 120,000 black men between the ages of 25 and 54 are missing from everyday life. In Chicago, 45,000 are, and more than 30,000 are missing in Philadelphia. Across the South — from North Charleston, S.C., through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi and up into Ferguson, Mo. — hundreds of thousands more are missing. They are missing, largely because of early deaths or because they are behind bars. 

It seems that society has negatively labeled our black males from birth. What is it about African American males that people fear?  Why must our black men be oppressed?  With black men being killed or locked away in prison, this leaves the question, who is to protect our young black boys?  We all want the same thing which is to be treated with respect. So why, then, isn’t that happening? 

From the Travyon Martins to the Eric Garners of the world, things have to change. But how? Communication, communication, COMMUNICATION! We have to stand up for what’s right.  The people’s voices have to be heard. Action must be taken. People all over the world are trying to ignite a sense of urgency for change.  Shonda Rhimes, creator of hit TV show, Scandal addressed this issue in one of the episodes this season.  This episode was about a black father that wanted the truth about losing his son for an unjust reason. 

How can we communicate the message that Black Lives Matter?  As marketers, it’s up to us to create the platform to get people thinking about the big picture. A world where people don’t have to be in fear of authority figures… A world where people respect each other… A world where people help each other to be better… We have an uphill battle before us but we can ignite change by creating a viral movement that demonstrates the importance of black lives.  We can even customize social media messages to communicate the importance of equality for everyone and so much more. The sky is the limit!

For years, we have implemented innovative campaigns to support the notion that black lives matter. Our campaigns encourage black men to live longer healthier lives. Whether it be to quit smoking, get tested for H.I.V. and STDs, colon or prostate screenings, etc., we communicate because we care. 

Working with leaders and faith-based organizations in the community is another avenue that can be used to share the importance of black lives to those who may not understand.  These programs will provide young black men the information they need to make informed and educated decisions. Community leaders and faith-based organizations can present a seminar to the community about thinking before taking action. This can be a positive push for change to end the senseless acts that are happening around the world. 

As marketers, we have the platform to influence and change attitudes. We speak to various audiences for a living. We know how to convey messages that will allow people to make decisions based on the information we provide. We can let them know that their voice can and will be heard. Knowing that you have the opportunity to ignite change, the real question is, what will you stand for? How will you use your platform? Will you use your marketing for a better America?

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