Showing Up for Racial Justice with Lynn Johnson

Your company or a brand you support posted a black square for #racialjustice on Blackout Tuesday 2020.

Now what? 

What does it really mean to show up  for racial justice in a way that builds trust?

We unpacked this topic with Lynn Johnson, Founder and CEO of Hella Social Impact. Lynn is focused on helping businesses show up for racial justice authentically and impactfully. She believes her main job is to help today’s leaders access the courage and imagination needed to reshape our economy for the good of all people.

If you’re looking for practical ways to align your organizational culture, operations, and communication with your external commitments to racial justice and social impact, you’ll want to give this episode of In Trust a listen.

Overview of Episode 47: Showing Up for Racial Justice with Lynn Johnson

Talking Points

  • Lynn’s work at the intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion, arts + media, culture, marketing, and social change
  • How Lynn helps give a voice to those too often left out of the conversation
  • What is means to show up for racial justice
  • How brands are some of the most impactful storytellers
  • Earning trust by doing the work and telling your story
  • The disconnect that comes from a lack of courage and imagination
  • The importance of reminding people of their power and the importance of small changes
  • Centering the stories and experiences of people who have been left out of the center
  • Calling people in instead of calling them out
  • How Lynn’s daughter has helped her build trust in herself
  • The importance of asking for help
  • Hella Social Impact’s framework of notice, name, and dismantle
  • The importance of naming dominant culture and acknowledging marginalized identities
  • Practical ways to show up for racial justice


“Showing up is really an intentional word choice on our part. It’s why we work at that intersection of aligning the internal culture work with the external communications work, because that’s how you show up.” – Lynn Johnson

“The people who work for you today – can they show up to work as their full selves? Are you creating an environment and an organizational culture where that is the case? And those people, no matter what their race or their background, can they really thrive professionally, financially, and personally?” – Lynn Johnson

“Brands are some of the most impactful storytellers in our culture. We follow the communications of companies in so many ways on social media, through advertising, all these places.” – Lynn Johnson

“People are really looking to companies to really take a stand on the issues that matter most, racial justice being one of them.” – Lynn Johnson

“When we talk about showing up for justice, our kind of shorthand is you do the work and then you tell your story. That’s where trust is earned.” – Lynn Johnson

“We’ve all seen these millions of black squares that are posted [on social media]. And then what happens? It’s one thing to say, ‘Racism is an awful thing. I am totally against racism’ and it’s another to be actively anti-racist in your behaviors and your policies and to be working towards actual justice. If you post the square and you don’t do the work that you say you’re going to do, that’s when trust is broken. So let’s rebuild this trust by weaving all that together, saying something that you’re committed to and then actually putting a plan in place to make that happen.” – Lynn Johnson

“As a facilitator, my worldview is to bring people into the conversation. At Hella Social Impact, we always talk about how we don’t want to call people out, we want to call people in.” – Lynn Johnson

“You can’t repair unless you know you’re causing harm.” – Lynn Johnson

“Ultimately what we want is equity and we want a place where everyone can thrive.” – Lynn Johnson

This episode sponsored by:

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