It’s Pro Bono Week! But this one looks unlike any other we’ve experienced before. Instead of large skilled volunteering events or gathering by the hundreds in event spaces for keynotes on social impact, we’re logging on to video calls from our homes or mostly empty offices. Handshakes have been replaced by waves on screens. Digital breakout rooms are the new space for collaboration.
Companies around the world have remained silent to their role in racism for centuries. No matter how well-crafted or well-intended, it is not enough for corporations to just make public statements and large donations to racial justice organizations. Without action, these statements can land as nothing more than platitudes from a PR playbook.
A note from Benevity Founder and Chairman, Bryan de Lottinville
I don’t profess to be a civil rights activist, nor particularly informed on this issue. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be Black or Brown or otherwise marginalized, or to have to fear for my life in even the most innocuous of interactions. The worst I’ve ever been is poor. Subsidized education and likely my whiteness helped me evolve to the ‘entitled but empathetic spectator’ status that I hold. But on this topic, I’m forlorn. I’m heartbroken. I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed. And I know that I’m not alone in feeling that way. After all, as we say at Benevity, We Are We.
“In the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death in Minneapolis, major corporations have been voicing their support for racial justice in the United States. But we are way past the point when words alone suffice. Actions are needed. Corporations can and should make 10 concrete commitments to achieving racial equity in their workplaces and society.”
- Mark Kramer, co-founder and managing director, FSG