How to Tell If a Company’s Black Lives Matter Statement Actually Means Anything

Always look for authenticity, accountability, and action items

La'Nita Johnson
Marker
Published in
5 min readJun 2, 2020

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Image: Lululemon

Nearly every brand right now is sending emails telling you they are in solidarity with you, in addition to artists posting tone-deaf messages on social media and educational institutions sending press releases expressing “shock over the current state of events in our country.”

Chances are good that some of the trite, overgeneralized correspondences that you’ve received have left you with more questions than answers in regard to how these organizations or leaders are supposedly “standing with you” in the fight against racism.

As an international trainer and educator, I try to evaluate these messages through the lens of systems change. This is a process for recognizing and dealing with the root causes of problems by evaluating our relationships with governments, businesses, community organizations, religion institutions, nonprofits, and individuals in order to move beyond Band-Aid solutions and confront the deeper issue.

If a company is using general, vague language, such as “some of our community members,” “I am shocked,” or “We want human rights for all people,” this is a neutral stance that offers little to no support.

Over the past few decades, technology like social media has contributed to increased visibility of systematic discrimination, especially in communities of color. However, besides improving communication around injustice, social media platforms have manifested very few tangible resources that allow people to enact change. For this reason, conversations about systems change in relation to structural racism are pivotal in moving the needle from rhetoric to actionable measures.

Here are the three elements you should look for in a company statement of…

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La'Nita Johnson
Marker
Writer for

A survivor of terrorism, La’Nita works to educate people about countering violent extremism and the importance of mental health on her blog “PTSD Out Loud.”