Meeting 1: Setting the Stage

They say the hardest part about starting something new is taking the first step. Well, consider us highly skeptical that the beginning will be the hardest part of our all-agency journey toward racial justice and equity.

But we’re here. We made the jump.

Our first meeting took place on June 25, nearly a month after George Floyd’s murder and in the midst of the weeks-long unrest that followed. As an agency and as people, our emotions were still raw. We were processing. Some began regularly attending protests. Others dove into anti-racist literature. Many didn’t know where to start.

Enter us.

We began our first Racial Justice and Equity Task Force meeting by listening, something we all hope to do more of and get better at over the coming months. Stacey, our task force moderator, asked all of us what kind of changes we’d like to see our group facilitate at LGA and beyond.

While each person shared his or her unique goals, a common thread emerged: the hope that LGA could become a workplace with more diverse talent and perspectives, and one that better reflects the Charlotte community. LGA President Peggy Brookhouse said, “I want LGA to make racial equity something we don’t even have to think about – it’s just a part of who we are.”

After a brainstorm, our team decided that, moving forward, the charge of our task force would be threefold and would seek to answer the following questions:

  • How do we educate ourselves on our own challenges and biases so that we’re making decisions through an open lens?
  • How do we improve diversity within our own agency?
  • How do we support the work that’s already happening and become a leader in the community so that this becomes who we are and what we’re known for?

From there, we created three independent working groups:

  1. Anti-racist education
  2. Workforce diversity
  3. Community and industry leadership

Some notes from our brainstorm:

  • We decided that our agency should explore diversity and implicit bias training.
  • We discussed the need to develop LGA core values and principles that can serve as a jumping off points or all social justice endeavors moving forward.
  • We talked about creating an internship program that recruits exclusively from HBCUs and establishing a diversity fellowship for POC students interested in advertising.
  • Alexia, a member of our task force, made the point that we should consider expanding our opportunities to high school students so they can decide ahead of graduation if they’d like to explore a future in advertising.

Our meeting ended with a charge to decide which subgroup we felt called to serve and to meet with our subgroup ahead of our next meeting.