The ColorComm Board came together to denounce anti-Asian racism during the coronavirus pandemic as Asian American communities have had their safety threatened across the United States.

As the founder and CEO of ColorComm, I am truly proud of the unity, togetherness, and solidarity our board displayed to urge media and journalists to stop using the phrase 'Chinese virus,' and other derogatory phrases associated with Covid-19. As a collective, the Board issued a public letter to take a stand on defying racism and to promote unity. It is important to use our collective voice to influence change in the communications, public relations, and media relations industries.

As leaders in the industry, we aren’t doing our jobs if we sit back and let these conversations go idle.  In an effort to continue conversations on advocacy, social justice, and social distance, ColorComm has created a social campaign in conjunction with ColorComm’s new social distance logo and social distance message  #spacewithgrace. 

The letter was authored by ColorComm Board Member Soon Me Kim, EVP & global diversity & inclusion leader, Porter Novelli and was backed by the full board. The letter was distributed publicly and is as follows:

ColorComm, the nation’s leading women’s platform addressing diversity and inclusion across the communications, marketing, advertising, media and digital industry, was founded nine years ago to help strengthen the voices, work, and accomplishments of those who are often underrepresented in the overall business and political discourse.

As we have witnessed further escalation of violence and harassment against our community members and local citizens of Asian descent related to the coronavirus pandemic, we are speaking out to denounce these hateful acts. In the first week of tracking, over 650 incidents of verbal harassment, shunning and physical assault have been reported to Stop AAPI Hate, one of three organizations formed to track hate incidents.

As professional communicators, we know the power and influence our words have. “Chinese virus,” “Chinese coronavirus” and “Wuhan virus” are terms that fuel xenophobia and racism. Indeed, the World Health Organization established best practices for naming human infectious diseases that avoid using names of geographic locations to prevent backlash against those affected.

As communicators, we urge those across the public relations and communications industries, as well as journalists and media professionals to refrain from using hateful language such as this.

As women and women of color, we stand in solidarity with our sisters and fellow citizens of Asian descent. Our battle against the coronavirus pandemic requires our full attention, as it already disproportionately impacts women and people of color, small businesses and members of the gig economy, and the industries we serve. It is no time for hate.

ColorComm Board Members:

  • Lori George Billingsley, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Coca-Cola North America

  • Traci Otey Blunt, SVP, Communications, NFL

  • Natalie Boden, Founder & President, BODEN

  • Johanna Fuentes, EVP, Communications, Showtime Networks Inc.

  • Jackie Gagne, VP, Multicultural Marketing, HBO

  • Heide Gardner, SVP, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Interpublic Group

  • Judith Harrison, SVP, Weber Shandwick

  • Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Global Head of Community Inclusion, Google, Inc.

  • Jill M. Kelly, Chief Marketing Officer, GroupM

  • Soon Mee Kim, EVP & Global Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Porter Novelli

  • Michelle Lee, Editor In Chief, Allure Magazine

  • Jeanine Liburd, Chief Social Impact & Communications Officer, BET Networks

  • Tanya Lombard, Head of Multicultural Engagement and Strategic Alliances, AT&T

  • Yvette Miley, SVP, MSNBC

  • Sandra Sims-Williams, SVP of Diversity & Inclusion, Nielsen

  • Trisch Smith, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Edelman

  • Tiffany Smith-Anoa’I, EVP, Entertainment Diversity, Inclusion & Communications, ViacomCBS Global Inclusion

  • Shelley Zalis, Founder and CEO, The Female Quotient

  • Melissa Waggener Zorkin, CEO & President, WE Communications