Over the past few months, a long-overdue recognition of the damage inflicted by systemic racism has taken place. Organizations and communities are clamouring, like never before, for training in equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and many are working hard to change policies and practices to ensure more diverse and inclusive places to live and work. Racist incidents in the U.S. and here in Canada have pushed many of us to take a hard look at ourselves, our privileges, and ask some difficult questions. We’re engaging in conversations we’ve rarely had before, whilst recognizing that these discussions are critical to moving us towards positive change.
The CPRS National Board formally joined the conversation on EDI this past summer. In a statement to members across the country, they made a commitment to both promote diversity and inclusion and to undergo changes that will create a stronger sense of belonging for all our members and PR professionals, especially those from Black, Indigenous and racialized communities.
This past summer, the National Board struck a National Task Force on EDI to develop a framework to drive positive change within CPRS and the Canadian PR profession. Please watch for updates on the work of the EDI Task Force in 2021.
To be truly effective, our industry needs to take important steps at both a national and local level to ensure increased diversity and inclusion. This past fall, the CPRS Vancouver Board committed to putting more focus on EDI. As a first step, last month, Vancouver board members participated in a workshop on Inclusive Marketing and Communications led by &Humanity, a Vancouver-based Diversity and Inclusion Marketing Agency that specializes in helping clients develop inclusive marketing strategies to reach and engage the diverse customer based in more meaningful ways. We also have two of our Board members (the authors of this blog—Rashpal Rai and Marsha D’Angelo) working hard on the National Task Force on EDI.
Over the next few months, we’ll be providing more resources, sessions and opportunities to help CPRS members learn about EDI as it relates to public relations, the work we do, and the role we can play as anti-racism agents and ambassadors to affect positive change in our organizations and with our clients.
If you would like to be part of this work, please reach out to us at either firstname.lastname@example.org or Rashpal.Rai@shaw.ca. To find out more about &Humanity, visit their website.
Marsha D’Angelo is the Principal of Apostrophe (www.apostrophepr.com), a strategic and communications planning consultancy in Vancouver, BC. With over 17 years communications experience, Marsha is passionate about helping organizations and individuals tell their diverse stories.
Marsha got her start working for some of the world’s biggest public relations agencies in Canada and the U.K. In her current role, she works with clients in education, business and the non-profit sector to help with planning, stakeholder outreach, facilitation and training. She is also a published writer, a passionate advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, and an award-winning educator currently teaching part-time in the new Public Relations Diploma Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Rashpal Rai, APR