Hold the PRess, a grassroots initiative pushing for diversity in the PR business, is merging with 600 & Rising, a nonprofit that advocates for Black advertising employees.
The Hold the PRess initiative will operate as an extension of 600 & Rising, said cofounder Nysah Warren, account executive at Taylor. Sade Ayodele, Hold the PRess cofounder and director of Taylor’s digital sports group, has joined 600 & Rising's board of directors as chair of PR agency relations, effective immediately.
Warren and two other Hold the PRess founders, the PR Girl Manifesto founder Fatou Barry and Connective Agency account executive Enoma Owens, will serve on 600 & Rising's PR agency relations committee.
"A few weeks ago, we got on a call with some of the leaders of 600 & Rising to have a conversation and learn more about each other and what we were doing in our respective industries to reach the same goal of dismantling systemic racism," Warren said. "We came to discuss the idea to partner and thought why not come together to join efforts? And that way we can advocate for Black talent [in each industry]."
The mechanics of the merger largely involve coordinating efforts, Warren said, because Hold the PRess had no formal legal structure. "We’re more of a grassroots initiative," she explained. Meanwhile, 600 & Rising is applying for nonprofit status.
Hold the PRess launched in June and began contacting agencies and asking for their organizational diversity breakdowns that month. Last week, Weber Shandwick publicly released its diversity statistics and shared those numbers with Hold the PRess. The group’s Instagram page said Nike Communications and InkHouse have also shared workforce diversity statistics.
"We have heard back from other agencies who have either presented data or confirmed they will be sharing with us," Warren said, via email. "This said, we don’t want to imply that other agencies have not responded, as we are still pulling together a more comprehensive update of responses which we plan to share next week."
The group is also pressing PR agencies to increase their recruitment from historically Black colleges and universities, to restructure if fewer than 30% of the agency’s executives are Black and to adopt other equity-based measures.