'Celebrate black success in PR, but not just for Black History Month'

The PRCA's Race and Ethnicity Equity Board (REEB) has issued a statement urging industry professionals to think carefully before engaging with Black History Month.

REEB chair Barbara Phillips: 'It’s not surprising that this annual jolt of consciousness fights its way through only each October, if at all'
REEB chair Barbara Phillips: 'It’s not surprising that this annual jolt of consciousness fights its way through only each October, if at all'

REEB, which formed last summer, has advised industry professionals to consider their own organisations’ track records on issues of race and ethnicity before sharing content relating to Black History Month, which takes place every October.

REEB chair Barbara Phillips said: "As a multi-ethnic board of predominantly black members we hold mixed views about Black History Month. We spend 11 out of 12 months watching many leading industry figures remain resolutely inactive in increasing racial diversity within the PR and comms industry.

“It’s not surprising that this annual jolt of consciousness fights its way through only each October, if at all. Coupled with the expectation that many of our REEB board members are asked to speak at events (for free), join in activity (for which there was zero collaboration or consultation) and generally expected to be beside ourselves with joy that white leaders in our industry are making a cursory glance our way.

“Let’s be clear: REEB believes UK black history is actually British history. That being the case, it should be celebrated every day. And every time someone who is not white enjoys some modicum of success within PR and comms – they make a little bit of history. Such is the dire state of our industry. So please join us in celebrating our stories, contributions and success – but if it's only in October, then please don’t."

REEB recently contributed to a PRWeek project looking at the issue of ethnicity and gender pay gaps among PR agencies.

The board, which was formed to focus on accelerating the recruitment and progression of non-white professionals in the PR industry, has published a free ethnicity pay gap guide. It also introduced a mentoring programme designed to help black, Asian and ethnically diverse professionals succeed in PR.

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