Causes, Commentaries and Communications Tips Featured in Anthology
Hard Copy and ebook Series Launched March 8th
Washington’s K Street, symbolized as the nexus of money and influence, is also home to McKinney & Associates, a communications firm that practices public relations with a conscience. When the firm launched in a church basement in 1990, armed only with sweat equity and a clunky Kaypro computer, few imagined it would sustain a winning operation on K Street’s power corridor.
Capturing the work and mission that helped inform that 20-year journey, the firm has published a collection of essays Voice Matters: An Anthology of Public Relations with a Conscience
that kicks off a sustained multi-media campaign celebrating social justice communications. Founder Gwen McKinney
said the seeds were planted a couple of years back as the firm was planning its 20th Anniversary. “We needed more than a party,” she offers. “It seemed important to create a permanent record of our projects and partnerships. It’s literally writing the book on what we do. Part essay. Part memoir. Part how to. Part why do. But the story needed to be told in the myriad voices that give us our reason for being by people who are crusaders for social justice.”
The Voice Matters
collection includes a foreword by former New York Times
columnist Bob Herbert
whose reporting and McKinney’s advocacy often found synergy. The contributors recount campaigns conceived and supported by McKinney. Authors range from a formerly incarcerated woman who created a Los Angeles safe house for hundreds of other women like her to the head of Washington’s transit union who recalls a harrowing crisis communications campaign in the wake of a deadly train wreck. The pages brim with “cause public relations” on topics including health equity, the death penalty, criminal justice reform and advocacy for a child with autism by the firm’s co-founder Leila McDowell.
Reflections range from an argument on why diversity matters from the head of the nation’s leading Pan-Asian civil rights organization
to the secret of how success begins – with the menu
– from a popular DC restaurateur and bibliophile.
Rooted in the old school tradition of real time signing and hard copy release, the launch of the bound edition of Voice Matters on March 8th will be followed by a sustained release of ebooks, video commentaries, tips and reflections on campaigns and public advocacy supported by the firm.
Click here to purchase your copy of Voice Matters.
Always the limitation of book publishing, time and space could not accommodate the plethora of voices that might have been showcased in the hundred page anthology. “This reality and the magic of social media begged for our continuing ebook series,” McKinney notes.
The first edition of the ebook series, featuring California Newsreel
Director and Filmmaker Larry Adelman on his award-winning documentary series Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick
will be released on March 20th. Subsequent editions, supplemented through the firm’s blog Voice Matters, will be rolled out monthly and showcase topics ranging from labor organizing to voter ID laws to affirmative action to the “model minority” stereotype pinned to Asian Americans.
The March 8th launch also marked International Women’s Day. McKinney & Associates, specializing in strategic communications planning and execution, is the first African American and woman-owned firm in the nation's capitol that expressly promotes social advocacy. With the building blocks of public policy and social justice communications, the firm has served as a trusted advisor to many of the nation's most influential civil and human rights leaders and international figures including Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Nelson Mandela.
Visit our blog to read more about the anthology.
Visit our Flickr page to view photos from the launch party.