The D&I Digest: January 2021
Featured in this issue: a letter from leadership, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
BR is committed to increasing and retaining diversity of thought, experience and background of our talent base at every level and function, and to actively creating a culture of belonging that embraces all of our employees as they are – because if we’re going to fully serve our clients, we need to show up as our full selves. Our goal is to develop a cross-functional team of employees and agency leaders that celebrates our people, delights our clients, better solves problems, and promotes a passion for diversity and inclusion.
2021 and Beyond: Our D&I Journey Has Just Begun
Volunteer Contributors: David Jordan and Linda Hogan
We kicked off our agency efforts in October 2019 on National Coming Out Day, and despite all the disruptions of 2020, our D&I Leadership Council has made great progress. Progress of which, as leaders and sponsors of this group, we are extremely proud. While we have much to do, long-ignored topics are now being addressed honestly and directly.
To further our mission, in June 2020, BR made a public commitment to Learn More, Listen Harder, Change Faster and Give More. We shared resources with our colleagues to help us gain new perspectives on a range of D&I topics, and we donated our time, talents and money to 19 organizations in our community and beyond.
The simple fact is that discussions around diversity and inclusion generate as many questions as answers. But no one expects anyone to have all the answers in these types of conversations. Addressing social issues and driving institutional change involve group dynamics, collaboration and cooperation, so the only way to figure them out is to work through them together. And when we work together, we are stronger. And our forward progress, as slowly, imperfectly and fitfully as it comes, helps create better work environments and provides better value to our clients’ business.
These intentions also put good into the world. We must focus on the things we can impact versus the ones out of our control. In our efforts around belonging, we should reflect the most on the good we worked to put into our organization and world, and make plans to double down on these efforts in the future. If the past has taught us anything, it’s that a world with an abundance of good would be very welcome indeed.
Be on the lookout for an upcoming agency D&I survey to capture your feedback and input to help us track progress. Additionally, if you wish to volunteer to contribute to our agency D&I efforts, please send your interest to D&ILeadershipCouncil@bader-rutter.com.
We look forward to continuing our journey with all of you.
Linda Hogan and David Jordan
BR D&I Leadership Council:
Auston Roberts, Christiana Burnett, Devin Martin, Elena Davis, Gina Tomilonus, Jess Ayala, Jim Kogutkiewicz, Justin Liesener, Liz Roberts, Margaret Bradley
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Bader Rutter is proud to add Martin Luther King Jr. Day to our holiday schedule beginning in 2021. The agency will be closed Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in observance of MLK Day.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day was designated as a federal holiday in 1983 and has been observed in all 50 states annually since 2000. The holiday also has been nationally recognized as MLK Day of Service since 1994.
Some facts about Martin Luther King Jr.:
- He was a Baptist minister who advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation.
- He first came to national prominence during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott by the Black community in Montgomery, Alabama.
- He led the 1963 March on Washington (where he gave the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial).
- He was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
- He was assassinated April 4, 1968.
On Jan. 18, to celebrate this great man, let’s all take some time and listen to his I Have a Dream speech in its entirety and reflect on how far we have come and how far we have to go.
Celebrations for the holiday are typically widespread and varied, but things will likely be more subdued this year. However, the Marcus Center will host its 37th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Virtual Celebration at 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 17. This celebration will be free to the public with no tickets or reservations required.
In his honor, please reflect and consider what you can do to support the dream of equality for all. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Support a Black-owned business in your neighborhood (MKE list here and Chicago list here).
- Get to know all of your neighbors.
- Volunteer in a way that gives back to the Black community directly.
- Work on your allyship – a great place to start is here (also sign up for the Better Allies newsletter).
- Donate to organizations working for racial justice.
- Commit to start more meaningful conversations about racial justice with family, friends and co-workers.
Also feel free to check out the anti-racism resources on SharePoint. If you are feeling overwhelmed, start by reading this article “Yes you should speak up” and a webinar on 1/28 about how to talk to children about race.
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Volunteer Contributor: Pamela Narins
“Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” – Winston Churchill
It’s hard to teach history, because it’s always positioned as a dead thing, something from a long-ago past. For me though, given my particular vantage point, the horrors of WWII were always very close at hand. It wasn’t an ancient history thing (even though I was born well after it ended). It was an active and material presence. And even for my children, who were born in this century, we made an intentional decision to ensure those events were taught, understood and felt.
However, I know that most people don’t have my background, and for many, stories of the Holocaust are ancient history at best (and things I dare not even contemplate, at worst).
That’s what was so interesting to me about Eva’s Story:
It took a modern view of events that took place in the last century. It supposed Eva to be a familiar girl, with an Instagram following, living her life and sharing her experiences with her friends. As the world closed in on her, she documented the step-by-step, “this can’t be happening” aspects of the world’s descent into madness. All told from the vantage point of a recognizable, even universal girl, who had had real hopes to grow up in a world she recognized.
In a time when newsreel footage is as relatable as sepia-toned pictures from the Wild West, and when the average attention span has plummeted to goldfish levels (this is actually a true thing), Eva’s Story made something that is easily dismissed feel immediate and present. It brought a nightmare to life in a way that could conceivably allow more people to relate. And it’s ONLY in that relatability that the promise of “never again” for all people can potentially be realized.
Also happening in January:
Jan. 4 World Braille Day
Jan. 17 World Religion Day
Jan. 28 Mahayana New Year
Jan. 28 How to Talk to Children About Race – Register Here
$450 raised by BR employees
A special thanks to all those who participated in the food drive last month.
Missed our last newsletter?
Every month moving forward, D&I will release a monthly newsletter, but the previous issues are always available for you. Check out last month’s issue here:
Want to help the D&I Leadership Council? Have an idea on something that should be highlighted next month? Send us a note.
Dig in further on our SharePoint site that highlights our four pillars.
Learn More: BR supports each employee’s process of self-discovery about topics related to diversity, inclusion and belonging. We do this by providing resources and opportunities for employees to educate themselves.
Listen Harder: BR leadership commits to listening to employees about topics related to diversity, inclusion and belonging, and encourages employees to have open and honest conversations with each other. We do this by providing a range of feedback channels and spaces for discussion.
Change Faster: BR executes on action plans to become a more diverse and inclusive organization that fosters a sense of belonging. We do this by providing training for our employees, implementing talent acquisition plans and tracking our progress.
Give More: BR gives of its resources to support diversity, inclusion and belonging, and encourages employees to do the same. We do this by offering our employees service days, partnering with local organizations on pro bono work and making monetary donations.