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A Message from PRSA-NY President, Kellie Jelencovich, to our professional and student members

Wednesday, June 3, 2020  
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A Message from PRSA-NY President, Kellie Jelencovich 


Dear PRSA-NY Members,


We are deeply saddened at the loss of the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade, amongst many others throughout history. This grief hangs heavy, and our deepest condolences go out to everyone affected by this crisis. It is painfully evident that while racial injustice, inequity, and discrimination is unfortunately nothing new, it has once again propelled into the forefront of mainstream conversation. In addition, growing data underscore that Communities of Color are being harder hit by COVID-19. With that, we absolutely recognize that this is an extremely difficult time for many of our PRSA-NY members, those in our network, colleagues, employees, clients, partners, friends and family.
PR and communications professionals have the opportunity to influence and the ability to inspire change and create a lasting impact. As communicators and industry leaders, we encourage you to engage in necessary conversations to support your friends and colleagues. We have the power to act now to ensure a better future for all tomorrow and in years to come. We encourage you to take the time to self educate and reflect as well as show compassion and empathy to those who are dealing with a great deal of pain. We encourage our members to be empathetic and compassionate while checking in on our Black colleagues.

Garland Stansell PRSA 2020 Chair shared a heartfelt message this week and we at PRSA New York are fully aligned. He noted the following: "As communicators, those pledged to ethically and responsibly promote healthy dialogue and the free flow of information that can help inform attitudes, opinions and beliefs, I believe we should be the voices of compassion, the voices of civility, the voices of reason, and the earnest voices of challenge to help our employers, clients, communities, friends and families engage in productive, honest and empathetic conversation.” We are extremely proud to see the next generation of leaders from student organizations using their voices to further the conversation from PRSSA National, including recent City College of New York (CCNY) graduate, Terrell Merritt, who served on the PRSSA National Board, CCNY PRSSA Board, the PRSA-NY Big Apple Awards committee, in addition to current CCNY PRSSA President and active PRSA-NY volunteer, 2020 PRSA-NY & Art Stevens Scholarship winner for Excellence in Public Relations, Genesis Flores. They are both using their platforms and voices to speak and share, it's truly inspiring.


Our D&I Committee and Board of Directors are committed to lead, educate, connect, mentor, and inspire public relations and communications professionals at all levels to advance their knowledge, skills and careers, while being committed to diversity and inclusion in all we do through scholarships, events, programming, membership and more. It's been extremely impactful to see PRSA-NY's Co-Chairs of D&I, Martin Tettey and Margarita Miranda-Abate using their voices and personal passion to encourage change. We continue our dedication to PR professionals as well as the journalism community. Be sure to check in with reporters you’re actively in touch with but do it with care and concern. While we act to make changes and ensure progress, we hope you will make your voice heard within your organizations and in personal and professional conversations.


Please consider ways to take action through having the necessary conversations and giving back to causes that are important to you. As industry leaders within the communications profession, here are a few suggestions of actions we can all take now to inspire and motivate change:
  • Show compassion and empathy by checking in on your Black colleagues and community. Listen, show up, support and offer your friendship.
  • Express care and sensitivity. Be mindful of feelings by creating a safe space.
  • We recently hosted a webinar with LinkedIn and Edelman where we had the amazing opportunity to hear from Kyle Scriven at LinkedIn. He shared this Harvard Business Review article on his platform as a resource, "U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism."
  • Encourage an open dialogue and ignite conversations around you by communicating with your employees, colleagues, and friends. Ensure your teams are equipped with the necessary resources and communications to navigate essential conversations.
  • Reach out to top leaders at your organizations, as well as leadership of employee resource groups and proactively assist, support and be there to listen and help in any way. Provide resources and tools to empower your colleagues and clients.
We have compiled a list of resources, which you'll find below the signature. PRSA New York will continue working on PRSA National's initiative and PRSA New York's focus to further diversity, inclusion, and professionalism while supporting you on your endeavors and change for the future.

PRSA New York stands in support of the Black community. We are PRSA New York and we are New York Strong.
As always, we welcome any feedback you may have and if you’d like to share any thoughts, please reach out as we welcome you to get involved in the chapter in any way. Black Lives Matter.
With sincere compassion and heartfelt thoughtfulness,
Kellie Jelencovich
Public Relations Society of America, New York Chapter | PRSA-NY

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