The Legacy of MLK

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Today is a day to celebrate the work of many activists, those who are written into the public school textbooks and bank holidays, and all those whose stories are hiding deep in the library stacks or carried on in the collective memory of small town community stories. Stay tuned for future postings about some Civil Rights heroes who are just as important and a bit less famous than the great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since it is MLK DAY… I wanted to speak about a way to reframe a famous quote and take the meaning further. When we hear the quote, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” this idea has different meanings over time, in different societal contexts. Ideally, yes, the content of someone’s character will prevail when all people have access and opportunity to achieve their goals and dreams in life without unfair and disparate barriers (intentional and unintentional) based on race and skin color. In present-day context, we want to be cautious not to use this Dr. King quote as an excuse to say, “I don’t see color. I treat everyone the same” In effect, that is a concept called, ‘color blindness’. It feels good to wish for this to be true or to look for exceptional examples where equality happens. I love this as an inspiration, and here’s how to go further… at One Us Consulting, we say IDENTITY CONSCIOUS™ is the way to acknowledge the lived experiences of ourselves and those we care for at home and at work. It’s intentional, not passive. IDENTITY CONSCIOUS™ helps us to view each other with unique needs, stories, cultures, successes and challenges. Being willing to see differences is what brings us together, toward a vision where we intentionally bring marginalized voices to center, creating products, workplaces and pipelines for success.

The work of equity is never about one person, even one as grand as Dr. King. Every day counts, each one of us counts. Let’s continue the legacy and find hope in his words that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

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