Monday, September 07, 2015

12841: What Labor Day Means.

According to Wikipedia, Labor Day “honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.” It also leads campaigning politicians to write stuff like the following:

Labor Day is a time for honoring the working people of this country. It is also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the activists and organizers who fought for the 40-hour work week, occupational safety, minimum wage law, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and affordable housing. These working people, and their unions, resisted the oligarchs of their day, fought for a more responsive democracy, and built the middle class.

Yet what does Labor Day mean to the advertising industry? It might underscore the field’s hypocrisy similar to the way MLK Day does; that is, White advertising agencies are awarded time off despite operating in violation of Dr. King’s dream. With Labor Day, we enjoy a holiday thanks to the accomplishments of people who fought for fairness in the workplace—despite our dismal failures in the area of diversity. Then again, it’s a wonder no one has taken the opportunity to cheer the amazing progress experienced by White women in our ranks.

On Labor Day, advertising industry laborers should salute the people who have legitimately strived to bring change to the field. For the overwhelming majority who can’t even begin to identify the activists, here are a few names for starters:

Roy Eaton

Sanford Moore

Bill Sharp

Lincoln Stephens

Lowell Thompson

Harry Webber

Hadji Williams

Feel free to add more names via comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This list makes me sad because I see a bunch of men who were punished and pushed away from advertising agencies just for speaking up for us in the first place.

I am grateful that they spoke up and paved the way for some of us, but it also seems like if anyone speaks up, they get rewarded with a vicious backlash.