Living His Dream Through DEI: Remembering the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Authored By: Jai McBride-Calloway and Dr. Brandale Mills-Cox
“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment.”
When these words echoed from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s transformational “I Have a Dream” speech in the summer of 1963, he wasn’t just advocating for Blacks to have the right to eat at certain restaurants or have the opportunity to sit at the front of the bus, he was fighting for a larger ideological shift from the beliefs that perpetuated racial discrimination and economic disparities. Dr. King envisioned a society reflective of true diversity and belonging and he knew that to achieve true inclusion, we must celebrate the things that make us unique, weaving and embracing those differences into the diverse tapestry of American culture.
Dr. King was more than a powerful orator. He was more than the face of The Civil Rights Movement. He was more than a dreamer. Dr. King was a transformative thought-leader, whose teachings sparked true revolutionary change that left an erasable imprint on our nation. His pursuit undoubtedly shaped the foundation for today’s diversity, equity and inclusion practices, fighting to build a society where individuals have equal access to opportunity and advancement without barriers to full participation because of their identities.
Today, nearly 60 years after Dr. King’s memorable speech, we share the same sense of urgency to address the racial and economic disparities across our nation. We honor Dr. King’s legacy by actively working toward ensuring marginalized communities have a voice and have a true sense of belonging. At Exude, we stand on the principle of people first by embedding DEI practices into the company culture, and not simply as a standalone practice. People are at the heart and soul of our organization, and we are committed to amplifying a culture of inclusion within our firm and our clients. It is our responsibility to keep working to ensure Dr. King’s dream is finally realized. Here, we name a few ways your team can honor the legacy of Dr. King through diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and practices:
- Assess whether your organizational culture facilitates a sense of inclusion and belonging.
- Encourage team members to become change leaders within the organization, promoting behavior that enforces transformation.
- Take an active role in leading positive change, removing acts of exclusion and practicing self-awareness.
- Increase your cultural awareness and sensitivity by actively learning about different identity groups and their experiences.
- Promote open discussions with all team members, allowing diversity to thrive and propel your organization’s mission.
Together, we can not only become champions for change, but also strengthen our DEI efforts and implement the actionable change Dr. King dreamed about.