Commentary: Black Community Business Resource Group on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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.

Martin Luther King, Jr
Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo from Wikemedia Commons

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!

group picture of members of the Washington State Black Community Business Resource Group
Members of the Black Community Business Resource Group

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/

 

New Black Community State Business Resource Group Kickoff is Oct 24 in Lacey

BlackCommunityBRGKickoff

By Rachel Friederich, ICSEW Communications Chair 

LACEY—State employees are invited to attend a free kickoff event for the Washington State Black Community Business Resource Group.

The event takes place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. for food and fellowship. All state employees are invited. The event will be catered with food representative of black culture, so event organizers are requesting people to register to get an accurate attendance count.

Statewide business resource groups, BRGs, bring together groups of employees and their allies who have a common interest or characteristic, according to the Office of Financial Management, OFM, which runs the state website listings for BRGS. BRG members bring their unique knowledge and perspectives, making them an asset to state business needs such as recruitment and retention, according to OFM.

The event will give attendees an opportunity to network and learn more about the Black Community BRG’s goals. The event will also feature guest speakers T’wina Nobles and Washington State Rep. Kristine Reeves. Nobles is the president and CEO of the Tacoma Urban League, an organization whose mission is to assist African-Americans and other underserved urban residents in the achievement of social equality and economic independence. Nobles is also the director for the University Place School District. Reeves, (D-Federal Way), is a representative for Washington’s 30th legislative district, which includes the cities of Federal Washy, Des Moines, Auburn, Algona, Pacific, Milton and parts of unincorporated King County.

The Black Community BRG is the newest of the state’s six BRGS. The state’s other BRGS include the Veteran’s Employee Resource Group (VERG), Rainbow Alliance and Inclusion Network (RAIN), which supports LGBTQ+ employees, the Latino Leadership Network, Disability Inclusion Network and the Washington Immigrant Network (WIN).

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? Contact Megan Matthews, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Curriculum & Policy Consultant, Department of Social & Health Services (360) 725-4780 or matthmr@dshs.wa.gov.

A Human Workplace Olympia Offers Event to Support Colleagues Impacted by Immigration

Our partners with the Latino Leadership Network, Washington Immigrant Network, along with Results Washington are sponsoring a free workshop Sept. 27 on supporting colleagues who have been impacted by immigration issues. 

LLNThe The current climate in the U.S. regarding immigration impacts many people in numerous ways. The people who are impacted are likely to be suffering silently with fear and worry.

Results Washington is partnering with the Washington Immigrant Network (WIN) and the Latino Leadership Network (LLN), for a very important, sensitive, and timely conversation to understand the impacts of immigration on our colleagues and to learn how to support them.

The gathering will be Friday, September 27, 2019 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Helen Sommer Building, Room G015 A, B, C. Register today to reserve your seat.

This gathering is co-hosted by LLN and WIN leaders Marlene White and Christine Stalie as well as María Sigüenza, Executive Director of the state Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

Attendees will hear the voices of those who face different impacts from current immigration actions. Through sensitive sharing, we will hear and learn about the true experiences our colleagues are facing right now and what we can do to support them.

A Human Workplace fosters the practice of compassion, inclusion, and love in the workplace. This is an opportunity to put these in to practice by opening our hearts and minds to our colleagues, to convey belonging, care, respect, and support of their humanity and dignity.