Editor’s Note: Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Washington State Black Community Business Resource Group has submitted an article about Dr. King’s Legacy and the work the group is doing to apply diverse perspectives and experiences to the examination of the issues facing the state of Washington.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day Message 2020
Submitted by the Washington State Black Community Business Resource Group
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968), was a man of great integrity, values and principles. If alive today, Reverend Dr. King would be 91 years old. Leading the effort toward social justice and equality, Reverend Dr. King’s impact went beyond his local community to inspire change in America and the world. In 1964, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed into law, an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This day is officially observed the third Monday of January each year (sometimes referred to as MLK Day) which annually coincides with Reverend King’s birthday, January 15.
Reverend Dr. King taught us that there are far more commonalities that unite us than divide us. He often remarked in speeches delivered across the nation, that if we all took time to talk and get to know our neighbors, we would find that our values, ethics, morals and sense of justice are strikingly aligned. He was the first to acknowledge that while people may disagree on policies and procedures, we are generally in agreement on humanitarian causes centered on love, peace, and compassion. In recognition of his nonviolent works towards hope, peace, and prosperity of all Americans, this year let us refocus our attention on the elements of life that draw us together and less on the conversations the divides us.
Each year the month of February is dedicated to honoring and remembering the numerous achievements of Black Americans. The year’s Black History Month Theme, African Americans and the Vote, set by the Association for the Study of African American Life and Heritage (ASALH), would have been preaching to the choir for Reverend Dr. King. He intensely understood the importance of the right to vote in the right for equality. In 1957, he delivered a speech entitled Give Us the Ballot, where he argued that if we (Black Americans) had the right to vote, we would by voting, receive our basic rights.
As the newest Washington State Business Resource Group, we (the Black Community Business Resource Group) seek opportunities to engage communities around Washington. Our commitment is to share our perspectives on the varying aspects of the social, historical, and current trends in equity, diversity, and inclusion from the Black Community viewpoint. As part of this effort and journey, we welcome and value allies from all communities to join us in this transformative venture.
In the words of musical genius Stevie Wonder (circa 1979):
“If we cannot celebrate a man who died for love, then how can we say we believe in it? It is up to me and you!”
Happy Birthday, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr!
About the Black Community Business Resource Group:
Statewide business resource groups, BRGs, bring together groups of employees and their allies who have a common interest or characteristic. . BRG members bring their unique knowledge and perspectives, making them an asset to state business needs such as recruitment and retention.
The Black Community BRG Goals Include:
- Promote state government as an employer of choice supporting efforts that increase representation of individuals of the Black Community at all levels of employment.
- Better the lives of state employees through advocacy, outreach, opportunity, and advisement to the Governor and agencies on policies that affect state-employed black people, and ultimately, communities in which they live and serve.
- Contribute to a more diverse understanding of the unique, multi-faceted aspects of the Black Community in Washington State.
- Integrate the history, cultural experiences, values, and knowledge of both black people and their allies into the workforce of Washington State government.
- Provide advice and assistance to state agencies regarding strategies to hire, retain, and develop black people in Washington State government.
- Apply diverse perspectives and experiences to the examination of the issues facing Washington State. Diverse perspectives enhance the fullness of our understanding of these issues and open opportunities for the consideration of new ideas and better solutions.
Questions? Email BlackCommunityBRG@OFM.WA.Gov
Black Community Business Resource Group Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community-Organization/WA-State-Black-Community-Business-Resource-Group-111351510275919/