Last week, Brownstein Group officially recognized Juneteenth as an agency holiday, as well as a day to honor Black friends, colleagues, and affiliates. The announcement came in light of recent peaceful protests denouncing police violence against Black people across the country, and marks a new chapter in the agency’s history: where Brownstein will leverage its established commitments to diversity in order to more actively push for inclusivity in our industry.
Brownstein stands with those in Philadelphia who are demanding changes to institutions that —intentionally or not—have helped support long-standing, discriminatory practices which enforce systemic racism. As a Philadelphia agency, we believe this activism is true to the revolutionary spirit of our city. As brand strategists, we realize that genuine brand purpose and corporate social responsibility require that we first recognize how we can be an authentic force of change. This will allow us to go beyond gestures of support, and implement long-term changes in the way we do business.
Brownstein firmly believes that Black lives matter, but also that Black lives must thrive. That’s why the agency announced the implementation of BG20 x 2020 two years ago, a pledge to have 20% of staff comprised of talent from underrepresented backgrounds by the end of 2020. In 2019, 24% of BG’s hires were from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds, leading to a 250% growth of diverse or underrepresented team members in our staff. The agency is now on track to meet its goal by the end of the year.
To support diversity and culture, BG’s VP and Director of Talent and Diversity, Melinda Ramos went further: helping lead a Diversity Task Force with local media industry leaders, and expanding agency programming to increase awareness of critical issues of race and representation. These events included employee panels for International Women’s Day and Pride Month, unconscious bias and microaggression workshops, as well as knowledge-sharing snack and chat sessions and employee development sessions. These initiatives accompany our 215 Day community volunteer program, which allows employees to lend their time to support local organizations like Philabundance, MANNA, and Career Wardrobe.
For its internship program, Brownstein continues to reach out and invite students from HBCUs and under-resourced school networks like the Philadelphia School District—but the agency will expand its commitments toward several areas of focus in the coming months. These will include external donations to organizations such as Urban League Philly, but also internal educational programming and discussion sessions on race and equity, many of which have been ongoing in the past few weeks. Brownstein is also working to imbue its creative process with diversity by enacting changes to internal procedures and strategies. This will ensure that all creative briefs allow for diverse content and viewpoints from the outset. In order to support systemic change and a greater awareness of social inequities, our creatives are busy developing a resource library of content focused on racism and privilege, and how they affect the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
Our work to amplify this message is already delivering results. Last Friday, the agency was proud to celebrate Juneteenth by partnering with the Reopening Philadelphia Leadership Summit, an event hosted by WeThePeopleStage and Radio One Philly focused on elevating Black voices and creating a path for institutional and social transformation in the United States.
Brownstein is proud to represent an increasingly diverse group of creatives and will continue commemorating this diversity by honoring the history behind BIPOC and LGBTQ+ movements, but also by using its resources to help make the marketing and advertising industry more equitable and inclusive.