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FedEx Salutes NAACP’s 100th Anniversary

February 19, 2009

As one of several FedEx employees and customers at the recent NAACP Image Awards in Los Angeles, I can’t say enough about what it felt like to be “in the moment” at an event that kicked off the NAACP’s 100th anniversary. As I silently surveyed the star-studded crowd in the historic Shrine Auditorium, I saw silver-haired African-Americans from the civil rights era reaching out to hug teen film star Dakota Fanning. There were Hispanic and Asian people moved to tears as Muhammed Ali received the NAACP’s President’s Award. I saw people holding their heads higher as two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Al Gore and Kenyan activist Dr. Wangari Muta Mathaai, received the Chairman’s Award for environmental achievements. And I saw three youthful poets — a Hispanic, African-American and an Asian — blow the audience away with a moving tribute to one of the pioneers of hip-hop, Russell Simmons.

The televised program was directed by FOX-TV’s superb crew but humanity was calling the shots in that room. People of all races and backgrounds gathered to collectively pay tribute to an organization founded in 1909 by a group of black and white citizens who wanted to see equality and justice for all Americans. And on that evening, the pioneers would have been proud.

As a company with a strong commitment to diversity, I thought about the striking similarities between FedEx and the diverse world of the arts as superstars like Will Smith and Beyonce wowed the audience. Each day, FedEx plays a starring role in connecting people, cultures and languages around the world. Every encounter with a customer, from Seattle to Seoul, is an audition and we live for the callbacks. Our hub operations are a symphony where every well-tuned instrument must play its part in sync with the others. And each time we deliver life-saving medical equipment to a hospital or a child’s birthday gift to any corner of the world, our hearts sing.

Yes, diversity is a business FedEx knows well. And to meet the needs of a diverse customer base, we’ve worked to reflect that diversity within our organization — from our hiring and promotion practices to community outreach and the amount of business we do with minority-led firms. Moreover, we know that the diversity of our workforce is essential to our success in today’s global marketplace.

In our 36-year history, FedEx has delivered millions of packages filled with hopes, dreams and opportunities to people of all colors and backgrounds. Many of those opportunities were made possible because the NAACP worked tirelessly to open doors of equality and freedom. So our sponsorship of the NAACP is our way of standing up and cheering for diversity. It’s our salute to the vision and voices of civil and human rights — past, present and future. Thank you, NAACP, for 100 years of pride and progress.


    Barbara Tysz says:

    Very nicely written. I agree –

    Janas says:

    Barbara, thank you for taking time to respond. It was such an amazing event!

    All the best,


    Diane says:

    “Thank you, NAACP, for 100 years of pride and progress.”

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