Blog Culture/Agency Life

Why ‘Quiet Quitting’ Isn’t an Option This Juneteenth 

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer
Two hands held up to form the shape of a heart, with sunlight streaming through the heart shape to signify hope for continued DEI work in the marketing and PR industry

I just recently wrote about the need for DEI to get back on track in PRWeek and suggested using Pride Month as the launch pad. The week the article went live, I had the pleasure of talking with our new Head of DEI, Azizza, about the staggering number of companies that are ‘quiet quitting’ their DEI efforts. She hadn’t read the PRWeek article yet but echoed the sentiments wholeheartedly.  

In case you don’t have time to read the article, I’ll share a ‘CliffsNotes’ version for you. In recent years, we’ve seen a decline in companies going public with their DEI efforts. Many are expecting this to be exacerbated this Pride Month given the backlash brands like Target and Bud Light experienced last year.  

However, I think it’s more important than ever for companies to get their DEI efforts back on track. Not only is it the RIGHT thing to do — it also makes good business sense.  

I want to carry forth the significance of the article as we recognize Juneteenth. What messages would I be sending to my Black and brown employees if we didn’t recognize this important date? What are we saying if we as a society ‘quiet quit’ the holiday? 

After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, it seemed like every company finally woke up to the need for actionable DEI programs. And what we are seeing in 2024 is a stark contrast.  

June 2019 was the first that I learned of Juneteenth. PANid was formed in January that year and one of the leaders shared the six-month calendar of holidays and milestones with me. I immediately became curious about this holiday I saw sharing the month of June.  

At the time, I felt the whole focus that month should go to raising awareness for the LGBTQ+ community. I read about Juneteenth. I wanted to learn more. I took some time to talk with and listen to our Black and brown PAN team members who educated me on the significance of Juneteenth. They shared the history of Juneteenth and what it meant to them. I learned how they grew up celebrating Juneteenth with family, friends, and neighbors. I’m still thankful, today, for their honesty and sharing. 

As PAN gets ready to observe Juneteenth for the fourth time, I want to remind my fellow leaders that learning something new is hard. Any time you’re changing, you and the organization are going to experience discomfort. You’re going to make mistakes. But the best thing we can do is learn from those mistakes and grow from them. Think of this when you’re determining how best to pursue DEI efforts within your organizations.  

I know myself and my team at PAN have a lot of growing to do in this area. We aren’t perfect. But we are committed to taking our best step forward. All I can ask is that others do the same. I hope you’ll join me.  

PAN on Purpose

‘PAN on Purpose' delivers business-focused, diversity-related news and resources in a biweekly newsletter to help you achieve continuous DEI progress, despite any adversity that may be facing industries.