The ongoing events over the past few weeks that have affected the Black community directly — and many of us deeply — are unconscionable. The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other recent racially-charged incidents are a reminder of how much work we still have to do in this country to move toward racial equality.

The San Francisco chapter of IABC stands with our Black members, the Black community and all who are experiencing pain and trauma right now. As communicators, we oftentimes don’t get the luxury to process, absorb and heal, but rather are thrown into reactive response to manage others’ feelings. I implore everyone affected by these tragic events to do whatever healing is best for you. Find safe spaces to share.

Learn what anti-racism is and take actionable steps towards it.

Engage in allyship conversations.

Donate to racial justice organizations.

Support Black-owned businesses.

Take care of your mental health.

We also need to look inward as IABC members. As we continue to elevate our profession, we know that having thousands of diverse perspectives crafting messages, owning narratives and building communications strategies and channels means we’re reflecting the world as it should be seen — not as the majority wants it to be seen.

There is still so much more work that needs to be done, and we remain deeply committed to listening, learning and building an organization where everyone feels they can belong. Please email us with any feedback or suggestions. Our country has systemic issues that require more work to help fix, and we must all take action right now to make our world a more just place.

I hope that we’re able to stand together not just now — but a month from now, six months from now, six years from now — and beyond — to build a more just and equitable society. This is the work of a lifetime, not a moment. Our humanity depends on it.

Maureen Thompson is president of the San Francisco chapter of IABC and the Global Head of Internal Communications for Box, a leading Cloud Content Management platform.