It shouldn’t have taken the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, or George Floyd for many Americans to realize that being white was synonymous with being in a position of privilege. At Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a company that employs over 130,000 humans from all walks of life who strive to keep people well at every stage of their life, the concept of mental wellness, even among its employees, yearned to be addressed. This moment sparked a new non-mandated program inside the organization called Allies With The Black Community.
The goal was to build empathy and truly understand what life might be like for any BIPOC person living today in America.
Courageous posed that J&J was not simply a Band-Aid company. Or a mouthwash company. Instead, it is a total health company. Their remedies weren’t just for skinned knees but needed to lead the way in providing a remedy for our minds. We went to town creating content that ran parallel to their monthly virtual sessions devised to understand better what life is like walking in the shoes. Our programming peaked by conducting a study of 300 people looking at a 5-minute video covering the last 18 months of current events across America. We hired Monet Technologies, a facial recognition company, who helped us see the data through the eyes of another race.
Throughout the Allies With The Black Community program, we have seen how a commitment to these sessions and the digested content itself are educating, enlightening, and building empathy among J&J employees taking part in the program. People want to be real, have genuine conversations, and break biases that perhaps they didn’t even know they had. It has been one of the most meaningful assignments our team has gladly been able to be a part of on a personal level.