Black History Month is a time of reflection and celebration. Celebration of black people everywhere. It’s a reminder of the hard-fought battles of our ancestors for freedom and equality. “People should talk about the progress and contribution that black culture and blackness have had worldwide. It should be a celebration of black contributions from America, Africa, Brazil, etc. There should also be a critical discussion of the misappropriation and trauma that has plagued humans for just being black in the world and how to amend that while growing as a collective with empathy leading the way”, Cassie McNeill, our Marketing Coordinator, offered. However, the conversation must move from equality to equity. Equity is a trending buzzword, but what does it really mean? How do we act out equity as a society and as individuals?

As a black, woman-owned business, we address the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion often. We encounter this both directly and indirectly as owners and as we interact with clients – many of whom are also a minority, women-owned businesses. We see trends in having limited resources to secure marketing services, limited resources in funding, and limited access to opportunities. Black women in particular are known to be resilient and resourceful. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re carrying a heavier burden and not receiving the resources that other groups have received. We’re just so used to carrying the weight and don’t realize it’s there until someone points it out or alleviates some of the burdens. Equity is to reset the balance and level the playing field.

Take, for example, the notion of “equal access to employment”. Equity goes beyond just “hiring a black person”. It addresses the barriers to entry across hiring practices. Or when hiring black contractors and agencies to work on large projects, for example, many minorities are usually required to be certified and go through extra requirements to “prove” their fitness and readiness for the contract as opposed to just letting their work speak for itself. This is not equity. Equity acknowledges the barriers that underserved communities have faced and seeks ways to create a path forward.

By definition, equity is the fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all people, while at the same time striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.”

This is why we’ve developed initiatives like our Brand Ignitor program, designed to make marketing and branding services accessible to small businesses, many of whom are minority-owned. We are also working closely with Cook County to develop marketing outreach for small businesses in underserved communities. For us, equity means access, ownership, and opportunity. It means having a voice that actually gets heard, thoughtfully considered, and acted upon. Equity goes beyond just words. Equity is action.

-CJ, CEO/Creative Director

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