I have agonized finding words that reflect the importance of this moment in US history without delving into how we got here. I am going to respectfully leave that to the side, but not before I make my position explicitly clear… systematic racism and oppression of black people in America is real and must end.
I have prided myself on being a unifier when it comes to the printing industry. I truly love bringing people together through Printerverse programming who are passionate about what they do and how they help print evolve. Of course, I have been acutely aware that most of these people have been men, and most of the men have been white. I am part of the problem.
I have prided myself on being a champion of the people, telling stories of OEMs, print shops, and print projects that printspire the world. I haven’t sought out the stories of our colleagues grossly underrepresented in the industry media. I am part of the problem.
Next time someone asks “How do we attract women, people of color and young people to print?” think about what you do now, and everything you do from now on in regard to inclusivity and social injustice as the only response that matters.
Here are some things we should be committed to:
Industry Organizations. Diversity in leadership and management, and community outreach to develop opportunities that help minority-owned print businesses.
Industry Events. Diversity in leadership and management, speakers, and topics. A recent online event had 73 speakers, 8 were women, 4 of the eight were only on a ‘Women in Print’ panel. Another online event had 4 white men representing a global org. No more.
Industry Trade Press. Diversity in storytelling. Make it your mission to find new faces and voices to represent all the amazing things the industry has to offer. Challenge the OEM’s to have more inclusive representation in featured stories and when providing quotes.
The print industry cannot stand on the sidelines of social injustice and inequality. We have deep-rooted issues with sexism to deal with, too. Pay inequality, glass ceilings, and all of the legacy industry behaviors that paint us with an antiquated mindset must change for us to move forward with the world and have a strong, healthy industry.
The brands and the advertising agencies will also have a zero-tolerance policy on intolerance and unbalanced representation. They will quickly distance themselves from any business with questionable behaviors including silence on this matter – which is picking a side even if not the intention. Some print shops will also have strong feelings in regard to industry vendors not speaking up and choose to do business elsewhere. We need to get united on this issue and be willing to distance way beyond 6-feet from those who won’t accept change.
I was so proud to see a post by John Visentin, Vice Chairman & CEO at Xerox. He was the first in our industry to make a public statement and set forth a mission for Xerox to take a public stand against racism and injustice.
Canon has also stepped up. They released a statement via social media. (click image to see larger).
No matter how PR motivated you may feel these statements are, let’s keep focused on the message and positive forward motion of these two corporations, and let’s support them and their efforts to finance and effect change as global influencers. If any other companies have released public statements please send them my way!
Take Your Own Stand.
Every industry event I support, speak at, or attend, every person and company I work with from this point on needs to be setting an example for the industry and the world. I am no longer afraid of losing relationships I’ve built by being more vocal on these issues, and I am so deeply sorry for letting it slide as long as I have.
It’s Not Enough, and Not Fast Enough.
We collectively need to evolve now, or as an industry get torn down and tossed away like the symbols of a world that cannot exist anymore. I am on a mission to gather community support and we will mobilize to shine a light where change is required, shine a light on sponsors supporting unbalanced endeavors, call upon companies to be inclusive with their industry representation, and call upon the industry media to introduce new people, perspectives and experts through their channels.
I started a LinkedIn group called ELEVATE PRINT and it’s open to everyone interested in making a difference. Please join us, there is strength in numbers and it matters to be counted.
I thank you for your time reading this post and I welcome all respectful conversation around this very important subject. If your company is actively involved in supporting #BlackLivesMatter or is a woman/minority-owned business please get in touch.
Some additional information:
UNIFY LONG AND PROSPER!
Deborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Head Girl in Charge (H.G.I.C.) at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4 PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award and sits on the board of The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi and is a Member-at-Large for the Advertising Production Club of NYC.
Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC and works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers, and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.
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