Many companies have joined Black Lives Matter’s wave of activism this summer, tweets, Facebook posts and informative press releases denouncing racism at the height of the protests. For many critics, however, the rise in corporate activism has been nothing short of performative lip service.
Now, nearly five months after the assassination of George Floyd, the black history and cultural institutions in the United States that attract tourists from around the world say the donation support was far from consistent.
It’s unfortunate, especially as Covid-19 has put museums and art groups in dangerous financial straits. Proponents argue that the viability of these black-leaning institutions is more important today than ever.
Effective activism depends on painting a broader picture of American history and appreciating black’s contribution to American social fabric, according to tourism officials.
“One of the biggest issues we’re seeing right now is misinformation and education among non-minorities,” Brigette Jones, curator of social history at the Tennessee State Museum, told Skift.
“If you look at our obliteration from history, from the literary movement, from the classical music movement, and then add the physical obliteration with what you see from the police – what you see is America’s true relationship with black Americans – and it is that of a stepchild. “
Businesses need to see the greater value of these investments. “We hope that more companies will rate preservation as equity and invest more in preserving the Black experience,” Lawana Holland-Moore, associate program officer with the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, told Skift.
However, recent donations related to international demonstrations against police brutality have encouraged several large corporations to donate funds to institutions in the tourism sector that ensure black history is recorded.
The Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum confirmed to Skift that it has received funding, primarily from local residents, including $ 85,000 from musician Mike Curb and the Mike Curb Foundation, and $ 30,000 from Shelby County, Tennessee, through December Donated cash for free entry for students.
Additionally, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, New York said Mailchimp recently donated $ 20,000 in honor of Black Lives Matter and AT&T, but not specifically for BLM have provided.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture reported receiving donations from Amazon and United Airlines before the pandemic, but not recently.
However, United told Skift that while it had not made any new commitments, it has committed to long-term partnerships with the National Museum of African American Culture and History, Tuskegee Next and The Ensemble Theater.
While Covid-19 slowed the National Civil Rights Museum’s multi-year relationship with Southwest Airlines, the protests brought in significant donations from individuals. Faith Morris, the museum’s marketing and field officer, said it also received a “sizeable” contribution from Apple following the death of the late Senator John Lewis. FedEx also donated and promoted the museum with its Nascar sponsorship this year. Morris didn’t answer when asked about the donation amounts.
A Delta spokesperson told Skift that “despite the effects of Covid-19,” pre-pandemic funding pledges for places like the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights will continue to be met.
In Denver, at the Black American West Museum, Chairman Daphne Rice-Allen said the museum had not received any corporate donations. She noticed that one hand washes the other in her town. This is especially true for smaller art spaces that cannot compete with world-famous institutions or that are not in the limelight. Applying for grants and funding for those who can’t hold online exhibits or host in-person or digital events, access to grants and other donations is extremely competitive, she said. The art scene is saving itself in Colorado.
“Corporations are likely trying to deal with their own internal BLM problems, so the arts industry – just like the tourism industry – likely needs to support itself on social justice issues,” Rice-Allen told Skift.
Indeed, companies are striving to successfully address the hypocrisy between public rhetoric in favor of blacks’ lives and a mismatched internal corporate structure that is both harmful and unsupportive to black employees, and raise concerns with consumers outside the donation area.
Influencers and bloggers demand justice when traveling.
“We’re trying to hold travel brands accountable for their lack of diversity and representation,” Tomiko Harvey, director of collaborations and partnerships for the Black Travel Alliance, told Skift. “Especially when it comes to press trips, where black content creators and travel content creators are paid equally.”
This diversity issue has led most airlines to focus on rethinking internal protocols and pouring money into pipeline programs.
Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, recently acknowledged the company’s lack of diversity and set out in a memo a six-step strategy to challenge this. United Airlines recently announced the addition of a second Black Board member. Southwest, Alaska, and American airlines have followed suit and introduced new recruiting and leadership models. JetBlue informed Skift that the company’s founding is doubling to support diversity in STEM.
However, Uber has found a happy medium. The ride-sharing agency told Skift that it had been donated to the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit working to end mass detention. It houses the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice as well as the Center for Policing Equity.
“We are still communicating with both nonprofits about how we can deepen our partnerships beyond the initial donations,” Uber spokeswoman Lois Van Der Laan told Skift. “And how we can integrate these partnerships with the rest of our commitments to racial justice.”
From a consumer perspective, investing in black history preservation should be a breeze.
According to a 2018 Mandala Research study, African Americans contribute a whopping $ 63 billion to the American travel and tourism economy and are more likely to travel to a place connected with their heritage. It is said that African American history also attracts all cultural travelers such as Germans, Japanese, and other American travelers.
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