The extraordinary times in which we find ourselves continue to demand our attention and our engagement. We know we are living through an unfolding of history that will one day be written and studied as pivotal, nation-shaping and globally important. Even so, our experience of it is immediate, visceral and traumatic.
As the pandemic moves relentlessly through communities and countries, we have all struggled to absorb the magnitude of social and economic impact. It seemed things could not get worse. But now, outrage, despair, and pain have boiled over across America following George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. Violence against black and brown bodies, systemic injustice, a rotten criminal justice system and growing inequality are a stain of shame, a deep wound in our country and the personal experience of many.
There is much to be done in organized, collective and corporate ways. Responding to injustice and immorality is equally a personal responsibility. The significance of this time in our lives, to each of us as individuals, cannot be minimized.
We must stand together to reject all bias and discrimination, and we must work together to address them wherever they appear. We mourn those who have died, grieve for their families, and join together with those who protest peacefully, seek answers, and want change. We are also grateful to the many first responders who strive every day to do the right thing and preserve safety, and we require accountability for those who abuse power.
At Karma, we have an inclusive culture, but an insufficiently diverse community. We and our colleagues around the LRW Group are working on this and will count on the insights and guidance of outside counselors who have much greater expertise and profound sensitivity. A few things we’ve committed to already include:
- Karma and the extended LRW Group will recognize June 19th–Juneteenth–as a day off. Reflective of its origins commemorating the end of slavery and celebrating freedom, we close as a sign of support for the Black community.
- We are still learning about the struggles Black people in America face every day and are marching, protesting, sharing resources about and contributing to organizations effectively driving change, including local journalism, bail bonds, victim memorial funds and police reform funds, just to name a few.
- This list of suggested readings assembled by the LRW Pragmatic Brain Science team is a start to helping us understand the psychological factors that help us identify and address bias and racism.
- We will follow the lead of a newly formed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion task force, with outside expertise, to look at issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within LRW Group, and to help us develop a comprehensive plan to improve.
- We will contribute our capabilities to do significant pro bono work for other organizations that promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.
- Our LRW Group CEO, Dave Sackman, committed to sign the CEO ACT!ON for Diversity pledge. Likewise, our leader at Karma Agency, Caroline Kennedy. It’s best summed up in this section:
“We recognize that diversity and inclusion are multifaceted issues and that we need to tackle these subjects holistically to better engage and support all underrepresented groups within the business. To do this, we believe we also need to address honestly and head-on the concerns and needs of our diverse employees and increase equity for all, including Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, veterans and women.”
We are honored to be part of a team capable of turning its anguish toward action and those who make civic, societal and community engagement indispensable, lifelong endeavors. Our collective response will not be a single voice, but it will be a constructive one.