Standing Together

9 June 2020
CPRS Hamilton Board of Directors


Dear CPRS members,

As the voice of public relations in Southwestern Ontario, CPRS Hamilton denounces acts of racism and discrimination and supports the calls to end racial inequality, which have been amplified by recent tragic events and have a long history in the U.S., Canada and around the world. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and recognize that the first step toward larger, systemic change is to acknowledge our privileges as individuals and the power of our platforms as communicators.

We feel it is important to speak up because our profession is rooted in ethical behaviour and a duty to society. As professional communicators, we foster dialogue, discourse and debate. Through two-way communication, public relations can bring opposing parties together to facilitate mutual understanding. We encourage harmony and social cohesion by mediating conflict, building consensus, and helping to replace ignorance with knowledge.

Communicators help organizations adjust and adapt to changes in the environment by monitoring and responding to public opinion and cultural shifts so that they can continue to earn the public’s trust. Among the most important publics in any organization are leaders and staff. We call on our colleagues to use their influence to help create the psychological safety and means for everyone in their organization to voice their concerns and communicate their feelings. Encourage your organizations to check in with their staff, to offer support, and share their experiences so that we can all understand better and learn more from the lived experiences of others. Our profession calls upon us to be the social conscience of our organizations. We must encourage our organizations to dedicate themselves to the goals of open, honest and effective communication, building a culture of listening and engagement, instilling responsible behaviours, and defining and maintaining their character and values.

On behalf of all members, CPRS Hamilton has made a donation to the Canadian Association of Black Journalists, who work to increase representation to diversify newsrooms, increase the number of Black media professionals in management positions in Canada, and educate and inspire a new generation of young Black journalists. We also recognize that representation within our own society has room for improvement and are committed to exploring partnerships with existing organizations which support underprivileged youth and advocate for equity amongst all people.

Communicators are well positioned to contribute their energies to the important work that needs to be done to create a more equitable, inclusive and just society. While we don’t have all the answers, we recognize that there are many actions we can all take, including:

● Supporting organizations rallying against anti-black racism with our time, resources and capabilities as communicators

● Mindfully purchasing goods and services from black-owned businesses in our local areas

● Educating ourselves about systemic and institutionalized racism, and existing barriers to inclusion and equity

● Acknowledging privilege in its many forms and questioning how and why they exist

● Checking our personal biases and engaging in self-reflection to understand them

● Actively listening and learning from those who have different experiences than our own without bias or judgment

● Being a good ally by speaking out against racism, hatred and discrimination in all forms, and especially in times where those experiencing it are powerless to speak for themselves

CPRS Hamilton recognizes that there is much work to be done and will strive to lead by example. When the Board reconvenes for the 2020/21 year, we will undertake important work to establish a policy for our Society to govern our philanthropic and volunteer efforts in the future.


Sincerely,

CPRS Hamilton Board of Directors