Kane Hines, 15, marches toward the White House after a demonstration that was held in response to the officer involved shooting deaths' of Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., on July 7, 2016. (Photo by Christian K. Lee/The Washington Post)

As of Friday morning, there were no videos of past advertisements to be found on the home page of global advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. No links to bios for the agency's senior managers or founders, no links to contact info for potential clients looking to work with them.

Instead, there was only black and white, simple text on a page, and a hashtag: #blacklivesmatter.

Best known for its iconic Nike ads -- its co-founder coined the tagline "Just do it" -- the ad agency appears to have made the change on Thursday, as the world was grappling with the fatal shootings of two black men by police but before the horrific killings Thursday night of five police officers during a protest. Yet the message is no less powerful in its effort to "acknowledge this because it should be acknowledged," to not only comment on racial tensions but turn over its entire home page to an issue that many business leaders haven't even addressed.

"Why your black co-worker seems especially bitter today...
Why your black co-worker seems especially sad today...
Why your black co-worker seems especially quiet today...

We are processing.

We are asking ourselves what to do."

The message addressed the fears, the laments, and the frustration of those black co-workers in a few simple lines, closing with a hashtag:

"We are disgusted at police but telling ourselves, "you can't hate all police."

We are wondering the point of a moment of silence.

We are wondering if we ourselves will make it back home today.

We are wondering what to do, what to do, what to do.

Just an FYI, not for sympathy. Just acknowledging this because it should be acknowledged.


The agency's statement implies an important point: That the reality of racial tensions impacts people at work, and therefore, the managers who lead them. As Ellen McGirt wrote at Fortune.com Thursday, "The concept of inclusion, the idea that people from a variety of backgrounds can 'bring their whole selves to work and thrive,' is a lofty and beautiful one. But when a traumatic event occurs -- like the most recent two police shootings of black men--that means employees are going to be affected emotionally."

We've reached out to W+K to hear more about their response and how long they plan to leave it up, but they did not respond immediately. For now, here's how a few others responded on Twitter to the agency's powerful home page post:

Read also:

The irony at the heart of the Dallas police deaths

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