Encouraging a Sense of Belonging Among Diverse Talent
“How come no one here looks like me?”
She was right. What this African American PR student saw was something I had never noticed before: All the walls and display cases were filled with photos and artifacts of white men– Bernays, Lee, Page, Hill. No women, no representation from any other diverse group.
For an industry striving to attract more diversity, the Museum of PR was certainly not helping.
It was at this moment that I pledged to her we were going to change the way we tell the story of our history. Four months later, in February 2017, we held the industry’s first Black PR History program– before a standing-room only audience (during a paralyzing blizzard) Led by Pat Ford, with panelists, Dr. Rochelle Ford, Dr. Denise Hill and Prof. Donald Singletary, the audience was introduced to Black PR professionals they knew existed before: Inez Kaiser, Ofield Dukes and Moss Kendrix.
Hearing stories about PR pioneers who “looked like them” made a big difference to the young people that night. They said they finally felt “connected” to our field. They had historic role models to inspire them. Knowing there were so many other Black PR leaders who preceded them– a whole Hidden History of PR — they felt they belonged.
Since that night, your donations made it possible to add events to pay tribute to women, LGBTQ+, AAPI, Latinos and, most recently, Native Americans. Your gifts have also supported working with textbook authors to tell the previously untold stories of notable women and diverse PR pioneers. And thanks to your donations, we’ve been able to present the Hidden History of PR to thousands of students online.
Our Museum today tells a new, highly “diversified” history of PR. Thanks to your support, we’ve been able to acquire, preserve and display artifacts belonging to a wide range of women and diverse professionals.
Your gift will help us continue to research, acquire and exhibit these precious artifacts. You’ll be able to help thousands more diverse young people begin to “see themselves” in this field.
With much thanks in advance.
Shelley and Barry Spector