We Are At A Tipping Point
CEO and co-founder David Wellisch on the protests engulfing the nation and what we at Collage are doing to help our members address the challenge.
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This week, Collage Group staff came together to discuss the protests against the police brutality, systematic racism, and racial injustice plaguing our nation.

We held an open and honest conversation where our staff and leaders told personal stories echoing the patterns of injustice. Those of us who are Black recounted stories of racism as children, and gave accounts of the tragic and painful experiences that they continue to experience in daily life.  All of us shared in the hopelessness and helplessness felt by Black America.

Our hearts ache over the many recent tragedies, from the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta, to the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and to the murder of George Floyd by a police officer.  

We’re also reminded of the continued patterns of the less obvious manifestations of racism: a call to police from a white woman in Central Park announcing she was being threatened by “an African-American man,” as well as the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color.

Enough is enough.

But where do we start to break the cycle? How do we educate, inspire, and enact policies that support equal rights, justice, and humanity? We are starting from the inside.  I want to make sure that all Collagers understand the roots of racism and undertake efforts to lead by example.

The findings from our recent survey begins to illustrate the depth of the challenge ahead.

We asked Americans across racial and ethnic groups if they thought racism was a serious problem in the country today. As the chart below shows, less than 40% of white consumers recognize racism as a concern in this country.

The divergence in views may be driven by personal experience and conceptions of racism.

According to Pew Research Center, many white Americans have never been subject to the covert and implicit forms of racism that many people of color experience. Many may have an outdated understanding of racism that fails to recognize the structural issues that have never really been addressed.  School-to-prison pipelines, food deserts, mortgage discrimination, and redlining are just some of the institutional factors whose legacies have never been confronted by so many, especially older white Americans.

Overcoming structural racism will require intentional action and concerted effort by all stakeholders in American society. We each have a part to play in ensuring all Americans feel free, safe, and supported.

More than 10 years ago, Collage Group was founded to help leading consumer organizations better serve the diverse cultural fabric of America. In that spirit we are offering the following initiatives to support our members.

  1. A new survey diving deep into the attitudes and expectations consumers are reporting now with implications for brands and companies.
  2. Compilation and distillation of authoritative third-party resources on the Black experience of structural racism, provided in the actionable language marketers need.
  3. A virtual Roundtable with some of our member companies across industries who are directly engaged as individuals and professionals in this crisis, to understand how their companies are mobilizing in response.
  4. Continue to evolve our thinking about ways to galvanize the Collage membership to act in concert in a transformative initiative.

We are always a phone call away if you are in need of any other support. In these trying times, social and political voids provide an opportunity for brands, companies and their leadership to step in to encourage the change that ensures all Americans experience the liberty, peace, and justice too few can rely on.

David Wellisch

CEO

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