Top 10 Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion Influencers to Watch in 2021
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“When it comes to diversity and inclusion, what is and isn’t said often sets the tone within social media communities. Brands and their influencers are in a unique position to contribute towards diversity and equality online.”– GRIN, Diversity & Inclusion with Influencer Marketing
What is Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI)?
Equality, diversity, and inclusion, or EDI, is a growing movement that renounces discrimination and promotes unity among diverse groups. EDI specifically advocates for the equality of marginalized groups within society.
Brands can promote EDI by raising awareness, creating an inclusive work environment, and partnering with organizations that do the same. Recently, brands have actively collaborated with social media influencers that are vocal about current EDI issues.
Why is Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) important for brands on social media?
“[Social media is] an opportunity for individuals to connect with people of all different backgrounds—to find commonalities, to share experiences, and to solve problems in new ways.”– Strategic Finance
Social media as a solution to fear, discrimination, and problem-solving is a fairly simple concept. Since race, religion, and citizenship are by no means the only way to find commonality with others, all additional points of connection – such as lifestyle, artistic preferences, tastes in media, and more – are elevated in a new way.
For this reason, no form of commonality is too small, so long as things in common don’t seek to exclude outsiders. Opportunities to connect with new people online are as vast as there are topics to share and discuss.
Social media also allows users to connect in multiple ways; short tweets, hashtags, images, memes, and video. In short, social media is encouraging users to share anecdotal experiences that can have powerful inclusive marketing results.
And no other community exemplifies this inclusive marketing quite like many of today’s social media influencers.
How to Work with EDI Influencers
Working with EDI influencers can help your brand in several ways.
First, many brands that lack in-depth buyer personas don’t have a complete view of niche audiences that already love their products and services.With the help of EDI influencers, those brands can market to more niche groups, build effective inclusive marketing campaigns, and reach a wider audience.
Second, consumers are growing more concerned about brand social initiatives. Millennials, in particular, are increasingly buying strategically to identify with those brands that support their values.
Influencers can help brands target audiences with shared values. More importantly, influencers can offer critical feedback to help brands demonstrate a commitment to social values that empower their long-term vision.
Lastly, EDI influencers are uniquely positioned to help brands build communities of loyal customers to not just increase profits, but to also make a difference for marginalized people locally and around the world.
Top 10 Equality, Diversity, & Inclusion Influencers
“No form of discrimination is less illegal or less reprehensible, no matter how common, and often different forms compound.” – Aerica
Aerica Shimizu Banks is an inclusion innovator for tech enterprises that want to achieve EDI within their communities and company culture. She is also a public speaker and former Assistant to the Natural Resources Policy Director for the White House under President Obama.
“It’s not good enough to be nice and not racist. TRY HARDER. please speak up! Check your privilege. And hold yourselves and your peers accountable!” – Olivia
Olivia Sui is an actress, Youtuber, and host of the Fish Cheeks podcast. After the Atlanta shooting, she partnered with fellow EDI influencers to raise awareness for “poor Asian women working in survival jobs.” She uses her podcast to spread culture and community among members of her audience.
“Inside of a culture obsessed with appearances, and fitting into the mold, you really can’t have both: acceptance and resistance. You are either accepted by supremacy or resisting it. Make peace with the fact that you’ll [be] misunderstood and misrepresented if you choose resistance.” – Jo
Jo Luehmann is an educator with a masters degree in ministry and theology. She is most outspoken against white supremacy and seeks to raise awareness for the negative effects of fundamentalist religion. Jo advocates for those seeking relief from social oppression, to include LGTBQ+, women, racial minorities, and other marginalized communities.
“Anti-AAPI news hit mainstream lately ONLY thanks to communities coming together and putting pressure on networks to cover and validate our stories.” – Mari
Mari Takahashi is more than a gamer influencer – she is an artist and videographer that likes to recreate video game scenarios in real life. She’s an impressive combat choreographer and dedicated advocate for space research and the AAPI community.
“Loving yourself is a journey!” – Jazzmyne
Jazzmyne Jay Robbins is a diversity consultant at Buzzfeed and plus-sized fashion influencer. Born to biracial parents in a predominantly white Midwestern community, Jazzmyne grew up battling ethnic and female body image stereotypes. Today, she is a confident voice in support of body positivity, the LGTBQ+ community, and EDI within the fashion industry.
“Protect Asian women. Support Asian sex workers. Speak up, speak out, and help #StopAsianHate.” – Eugene
Eugene Lee Yang is a filmmaker and founding member of The Try Guys channel on Youtube. Of South Korean heritage and an outspoken advocate for the LGTBQ+ community, he has devoted much of his recent content to raising awareness for discrimination against Asian Americans.
“We hope that our story will help open people’s eyes to the beauty and gift of all children no matter what color, shape or form they style!” – Hector and Jennifer
Hector and Jennifer Sanchez have four children, and together they form The Sanchez Six. When their youngest son was born with Down’s Syndrome, the couple decided to adopt another Down’s Syndrome child from overseas. The Sanchez family uses their social media voice to promote love and acceptance for children of all sizes, colors, forms, and conditions.
“What’s happening to the Asian community right now is so devastating and senseless. I really hoped humanity wasn’t this reductive, but to see this hateful trend continue, is truly disappointing. Stay safe. Look out for each other. My heart goes out to the families. #StopAsianHate” – Ryan
Most famous for his role as Buzzfeed Unsolved co-host, Ryan Bergara is a ghost hunter, travel influencer, and Youtuber. He hosts the Youtube channel, “Watcher,” along with a team of actors and producers. Ryan is outspoken on behalf of his fellow Filipino-Americans and Asian-Americans currently targeted by hate crimes across the United States.
“Being Black is having to research whether or not a place [is] racist or safe before planning a trip there and even driving through certain areas.” – Karen
Karen is The Mom Trotter and founder of the Black Kids Do Travel Instagram page. The travel influencer space is currently dominated by white creators, and there’s a reason – many wonderful travel destinations are not welcome to minority families. Nevertheless, Karen and her family have proudly adopted the nomadic lifestyle and are exploring North America and the world together.
“Systemic change starts on an individual level. We must consider how we may unknowingly uphold the oppressive systems we fight against. We must be open to unpacking the layers of social privilege we may embody. Reflection is essential for real advocacy, allyship & social justice.” – Sana
Indian-American Sana Powell, M.A., LPC, is a psychotherapist with a passion for EDI and its positive effects on mental/emotional health. A frequent guest on wellness personal development podcasts, Sana is a meme/infographic artist, blogger, and advocate for inclusive mental health.
Work with EDI influencers to support marginalized communities and an inclusive marketing approach.
Sustainable commerce in the 21st Century must extend beyond company profits. Winning brands are examining how they can create products and messaging that promotes a better world. As a result, those brands enjoy thriving communities of fans and customers.
In nearly every case where brands generate authentic brand-consumer connections, social media influencers have paved the way. To align your brand with EDI initiatives, one of the best things that you can do is partner with EDI influencers. These creators will expand your perspective, reach, and effectiveness to end hate in your community and around the world.
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