For the past 50 years under the direction of T. Willard Fair, the Urban League of Greater Miami has been deeply rooted in changing the living and economic conditions for Liberty City, Miami’s most impoverished and crime infested neighborhoods. The organization has been doing so by championing education equality and economic development, but has remained a quiet kept secret for the significant impact that the organization has in the community.
Our job as the PR agency was to tell the organization’s story so that there was greater understanding about the impact and influence that the organization has in the community. We used every highlight, success story, and event to secure editorial placement in local media and author thought pieces in regional and national media, which eventually led to more media requesting interview opportunities with the organization’s CEO.
As an example of our PR strategy, the Urban League of Greater Miami was outraged at the results of an in-depth teacher quality study commissioned by the National Council of Teacher Quality. The study revealed that the least experienced and ineffective teachers were disproportionately placed in the communities serving Miami’s most vulnerable students, which were largely Black. The study made some aggressive demands of the Miami-Dade County School Board with recommendations to address the challenges and put the most effective teachers in the communities that needed them the most. However, it would take community pressures to place the right types of pressures on the school district and eventually effectuate change.
We aggressively leveraged media to shape the narrative and widely publicize the results of the teacher quality study, mobilize the community, and inspire action. We called a community meeting with the Superintendent, which generated immediate buzz and a sense of urgency and literally had every local TV news outlet and print media requesting interviews and live broadcasting the press conference to a standing room audience of concerned parents and citizens. We were able to successfully bring greater awareness to teacher quality while also raising the profile of the organization, which ultimately resulted in fostering greater collaboration on school-based initiatives between the school board and the Miami Urban League.