America is on fire. We’ve watched for the past several days as people across the country have protested, rioted and cried in the streets demanding justice and equal rights.

If you think the unlawful and horrific murders of George Floyd, Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and dozens of others is the main problem, then you may be missing the bigger issue. It’s simply the tip of the iceberg.

For the black community, this is a reality we have been facing for decades; actually, centuries. Our skin tone has prevented equal rights, liberties, resources, and advancement in a country where these “inalienable rights” were supposed to be open and available to everyone.

While we’re all leaders with important decisions to make about our brands, we’re humans first. Here are a few things you can do for your team, your company, and within the four walls of your restaurant to be part of the solution.

Break the silence

First, if you haven’t picked up the phone to check in on your black employees, please stop reading this article and do so now. They are not OK. Simply acknowledging their pain is the first step in the right direction toward making them feel seen and heard. Then, post a statement or graphic on your social media channels that stands in solidarity with the black community. It’s not a political issue. It’s a people issue.

Keep your foot on the gas

Many leading brands have come forward with strong messages of solidarity for the black community. Some have even taken it a step further and donated to nonprofit organizations supporting the advancement of equal rights. These are great starts, but we must keep our foot on the gas or we’ll begin coasting and eventually come to a stop. Although racial injustice won’t be solved or eradicated overnight, change starts at the top. Consider creating a diversity training program and make diversity and inclusion part of your core values. Recruit and hire black talent for your corporate and executive level teams. These experiences and perspectives are necessary so that you can speak and interact with guests better in person and online.

Be part of the solution

Business as usual is not an option right now. Use your platform to commit your brand to not only diversity and inclusion, but issues of racial injustice. There is no shortage of ways to support and give aid to communities and worthy organizations fighting for equality in America on various fronts. Donating food or supplies to peaceful protestors or food banks is a great way to show support, as is giving back a percentage of profits to local causes. 

Eradicating racial inequality will obviously not happen overnight. It’s going to require fierce conversations in your office and maybe even around a table in your restaurant. But enough is enough. If we don’t take the time to do the work and address the issue of racism, racial injustice and inequality, the black community will continue to be invisible. And that’s not American at all.

I urge you to use your platform to commit your brand to diversity, inclusion and the solution to racial inequality.

Victoria Davis is a Senior Account Executive for Champion, aPublic Relations firm with a focus on the foodservice industry. She is a respected brand strategist with over a decade of experience creating integrated marketing strategies to expand emerging brands across the country.

Outside Insights, Story