• cierracjohnson

Bridging the Gap Between Public Relations and Social Justice/Prison Reform

Have you ever had a few different things that you were passionate about and wondered how to combine them together to make an impact on the world? Yes? Me too! For me, those things are: social justice, community service, and media. I have known for a while now that I am called to work in a creative space while still exercising my love for social justice, but I never knew how to do it all at once. For the last year, I have been doing a lot of work pertaining to social justice and prison reform. That was until I attended a discussion titled “An Industry Evolution: Public Relations in a Diverse and Inclusive Landscape”, where Andy Checo, Associate Vice President at Havas Formula and Sabrina Macias, Vice President of Global Communications at DraftKings were the speakers.

As students asked for advice on landing their dream jobs and questions were posed regarding diversity and inclusion in PR, Sabrina Macias mentioned her passion for social justice; that is when I had my “aha moment”. Macias went on to discuss some of the work she is doing with ConCreates Inc., a creative agency that is staffed by current and former prisoners. She currently serves as the advisor to the organization, which launched in May 2019. I was immediately intrigued by the way that she has found a unique way to merge her passion and her career.

Sabrina Macias and Andy Checo chat with students after the event.

Here are two simple ways that practitioners in the media industry are finding ways to bridge the gap between the two industries: 1. Creating spaces and opportunities for current and former prisoners Programs such as ConCreates allow prisoners to utilize their gifts and talents while incarcerated. By the agency being completely staffed by said individuals, both men and women with a criminal background. In an interview with Fast Company, Vincent Bragg shared more about the work that ConCreates is doing, “Our mission is to challenge the stigma of how society views people with a criminal history, as well as how people with a criminal history view themselves,” said Bragg, who cofounded ConCreates with Janeya Griffin. 

When this form of engagement is implemented, the Four Quadrants of Public Relations are being practiced. According to Part 1 of Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect by Regina Luttrell, the Four Quadrants of Public Relations are: media, community, business, and government. In order for practitioners to be successful, they must incorporate each of those components into their careers. Companies such as ConCreates are demonstrating they are actively practicing these tactics.  2. Bringing attention to social justice issues   The strategies and tools that practitioners use when working with clients and campaigns are now being used to bring light to various social justice issues. This is important because, great public relations strategies can help move the needle and create a world where everyone has the same opportunities. A prime example of this would be the way Nike has adopted Colin Kaepernick and his stance on racial equality and other issues. This partnership has allowed Nike to practice what they are good at, while still taking a stance on something that impacts millions of their customers.

​When it is all said and done, it is imperative that professionals in various industries are finding creative ways to merge what they are good at and what they are passionate about. Skill can be taught, passion can not.

Chat with ya later, 

Cierra C. 

#SocialJusticeSqaud #PublicRelations #LRNSMPR #CharMEDIALLC

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