The Next Four Years: What Does It Mean for Corporate Citizenship?
On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, I opened my laptop and set up tabs for six different news outlets. Then, in what I imagine to be perfect synchronicity with hundreds of thousands of people in America and around the world, I spent the next 8 hours clicking from one tab to the next, counting, calculating, waiting, texting. When I finally fell asleep, I spent the night dreaming lines from Wendell Berry’s poem, framed on my wall, “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be…”
So, here I am. Here we are. Two weeks later with the election results decided and no end to the chaos at the White House. And now, the phrase “no matter who wins” comes to mind in a new way. No matter who wins, we are in a global health crisis that puts the economy at risk. People are exhausted and afraid. No matter who wins, 2020 gave rise to a racial justice revolution, decades in the making. People are looking to leaders and loved ones for guidance. No matter who wins, forests are burning, and the oceans are warming. So, what do we do? Will the next four years really be any different than the last?
In the last four years, four global issues have become increasingly urgent: mental health, social justice, climate change, and the economy. The next four years will bring these issues into focus in a new way – a way that requires us, as corporate citizenship practitioners, to proactively integrate them into new programs and refresh the way they’re represented in existing initiatives.