National Capital Chapter

A Call to Rise Above, Together: A President’s Message

Living in and being a PR professional in the D.C. area for 20 years, I’ve grown to take for granted the political discourse. The back-and-forth is part of daily life in this area as communicators raise awareness and elevate civic and political engagement. It’s one of the things that makes D.C. special.

The incivility of this week’s events in America is unacceptable. Our inability to have a civic conversation is disturbing. I know how stressful this must have been for everyone as this attack on our city hurt all who peacefully live here and disturbed our democracy, our safety and our daily lives.

Our profession is centered around truth, ethics, values and trust — those are the standards we live by.

As communicators, we learn to embrace communication that advances thought and conversation while addressing grievances. The methods for doing that have many forms — forms that have evolved over the years. But never has acceptable communication involved violence.

What we all witnessed is inequitable and unconscionable. As one who has built a communications career around service to the nation’s most vulnerable, I found it hard not to notice the inequity that has been experienced by Black and brown protestors as they have hoisted the same megaphones calling for change.

No matter what one’s political leanings are, we must all, as PRSA NCC members and as united citizens, join together to model the importance of behaving civilly, peacefully and ethically, and ensuring there is trust and value in our communications. I urge us all to use our communication skills to change public perception and impact legislation to ensure we make deep and profound contributions for our clients so that others can live more meaningful and equitable lives. The world and future generations of communicators are watching, and we can serve as a model organization and leaders in our industry that provide unified support for civility and effective communication strategies to move our nation, our business environments and our clients forward to preserve and restore faith in our democracy.

Voices count. Words matter.

And leaders lead. I am counting on all of you to join me in doing so.

Lauren Lawson-Zilai
President, PRSA National Capital Chapter