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Empathy in Action with Community Partnerships

A few weeks ago, I invited my community partners to have a chat. Given the horrific events in Atlanta recently, this conversation could not be more important.

Now, I will admit we are not talking about xenophobia or violence against people of Asian descent or the double whammy of being a woman and a person who is “othered.” God knows what we saw in Atlanta demonstrates that we all need to be talking about how hate expresses itself. But more important we need to be talking about how the seeds of hate can be wretched from the fertile soil of white supremacy, xenophobia, and misogyny - before they take root.

This must be an ongoing conversation.

However, one small but powerful thing we can all do is connect with community partners to engage with and learn from people who are not like us. And, if we can lend a hand, we need to do so. Community Partners are essential to the success of the GROW DEI consultancy process. I strongly encourage my clients to choose a community partner, make a financial contribution - with GROW sharing some of the costs – and commit to ongoing engagement.

So, this conversation will introduce you to my local community partners: Jennifer Andreas, at PEARLS for Teen Girls, Mark Fairbanks at Islands of Brilliance, and Marco Morrison at Operations Dream. While they’re all in Milwaukee, I can assure you every city has youth facing organizations that would benefit from engaging with creative professionals.

Today’s podcast focuses on the power of community engagement. Community parentships are an essential ingredient to successful Diversity Equity & Inclusion work. This is especially true in the advertising industry which has struggled with DEI for a very long time – and still does. Collaborating with community organizations, especially those that focus on youth, is a way of opening doors to future diverse talent. But, more than that, these parentships can build understanding and empathy within and across our communities.

Empathy is the foundation of change.

Let the learning begin, while opening the doors to future diverse talent. Make DEI a lived reality across your organization and within your community. Take a listen. Then let’s get to work ripping the seeds of hate from the ground – before they take root.

We, my friends, have a long way to go.


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