As a Black leader in the marketing and communications industry, one of the most important skills I must have is to be observant. I must observe our context, understand the necessary things in history and use that to inform the guidance I give to my clients to forecast the future. I must observe the people, their current beliefs and values, whether I agree with them or not so that I make recommendations that produce the outcomes my campaigns were developed to produce. And I must observe the systems that impact the ways people can receive information. How are they helping or harmful to the goals set out for the change makers I work so hard to support?
So as I sit in observation of our current circumstances, I can say with all the confidence in the world that the only path forward in all of our missions and visions is to start from healing first. I don’t need to go down the observable list of traumatic events, horrible conditions, and the political backlash we are experiencing as a result of having a black president in this country. I will spare you from that explanation. What I can say is that things don’t seem to be getting much better and I fear we are working so much harder than ever before. Most of us have been trained to lead and work with others in ways that may actually be dehumanizing and biologically disrespectful. These transactional ways of building relationships or solving problems may seem helpful for work and productivity but insufficient for healing.
If we continue to operate in this way, can we truly ever see the changes we are working so hard to make? Is it even possible to understand and feel the true experience of justice without healing? How can we ensure that we will not repeat history? How can we practice the radical and revolutionary love required to be transformational if we harbor these toxins within? Are we afraid to heal? Do we not believe we are worth it? Do we not know how?
The Audacity Agency has been grappling with these questions this year as we plan for our future and we have decided to take a healing-centered approach as our foundation in bringing our mission as a marketing and advertising agency to life. Dr. Shawn Ginwright, an Associate Professor of Education, and African American Studies at San Francisco State University, the author of Hope and Healing in Urban Education: How Activists are Reclaiming Matters of the Heart, and the person who coined the term defines healing centered as “a holistic approach involving culture, spirituality, civic action, and collective healing. A healing-centered approach views trauma not simply as an individual isolated experience, but rather highlights how trauma and healing are experienced collectively. The term healing-centered engagement expands how we think about responses to trauma and offers a more holistic approach to fostering well-being.”
Healing-centered approaches are popping up all over the place. We are seeing it with our clients in restorative and juvenile justice, in the sports sector, and even in school districts like Chicago Public schools. As an agency that is rooted in equity we have a responsibility to make sure our offerings and products reflect a more holistic, and humanistic framework to support our partners and the audiences they seek to communicate with who have been harmed by the violent rhetoric of the times we live in. Such an approach encourages us to think and act more boldly about how to restore our communities through narratives that inspire and encourage instead of striking fear into the hearts and minds of people who have always been intentionally divided. We want to create campaigns and work with clients who want to see their audiences truly flourish not just survive.
Going forward The Audacity Agency will be including a healing process in our methodologies and approaches as it relates to marketing and communications. We want to be on the cutting edge of changing these hostile narratives that are causing people more harm during a time where after everything we have been through, what we need is more love.
The Audacity Agency is a boutique black-led marketing and advertising agency, pushing the boundaries of modern communications through an innovative and equity-centered approach. Audacity exists to create a power shift within the industry. A shift where the agency producing the work reflects its intended audience. We add value to our customers by telling them the truth and making sure they are communicating their truth to their target audiences with the most modern design and innovative strategies. Pushing our clients to move as boldly as we do is our ultimate goal because we believe to be audacious is to be the truth, in every sense of the word. Learn more at www.theaudacityagency.com/.