Another Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by police this week with his children in the car watching. As he faces a long battle to recovery, the momentum behind the Black Lives Matter movement only grows stronger. Celebrities, sports stars, politicians and so many more continue to demand systematic change, police reform and racial justice in a hurting America. At the same time, brands and media outlets are using their platforms to tell the victims’ stories and honor their lives.
- Wisconsin sports teams took an early stand this week and used their social media channels to speak out against Jacob Blake’s shooting. The Milwaukee Brewers and the Green Bay Packers released statements expressing their anger and sadness and wishing Blake and his family well . The Milwaukee Bucks also issued a statement reiterating that they would “continue to stand for all Black lives.” Later in the week they also decided to boycott the NBA playoffs, which has led to other teams in the NBA, WNBA, MLB and Major League Soccer following suit.
- Several athletic shoe brands have also issued statements to amplify messages in support of the BLM movement, paying tribute to the lives that continue to be lost. All eyes have been on Nike, who continues to use its platform to vocally support BLM, and stated it supports “players and athletes across the sports community in their response to the senseless shooting of Jacob Blake.”
News outlets are also going beyond just-the-facts reporting to share in-depth stories honoring victims like Breonna Taylor:
- Vanity Fair is featuring Breonna Taylor on the cover of its September issue, telling the story of her life through her mother’s eyes. The venerable publication also commissioned a portrait of Breonna by Amy Sherald, the artist who painted Michelle Obama’s White House portrait, which will serve as the cover image. Her story was written by guest editor, author and activist Ta-Nehisi Coats who is known for covering cultural, social and political issues regarding African Americans and white supremacy.
- For its September issue, O: The Oprah Magazine will end a 20-year tradition of featuring Oprah herself on the cover. Breonna Taylor will take her place as Oprah shares an essay amplifying Breonna’s story and encouraging readers to “use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice.” The magazine will also erect 26 billboards of Breonna Taylor in Louisville.
What was once a topic that many companies opted to avoid speaking about, is now a universal consumer demand. Americans expect companies to play a role in humanizing the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for justice. Sixty-four percent of Americans say it’s no longer acceptable for companies to stay silent on social justice issues. That number increases among the activist generation, Gen Z, with 72 percent believing companies have more responsibility than ever before to address social justice issues. This pressure is not only external. Our most recent research shows 88 percent of employees also believe it is no longer acceptable for companies just to make money; companies must also positively impact society. With such fervent demand, we expect to see more companies take a stand.