Sustaining the Dream of Equality of Opportunity
This August, in honor of the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., FedEx sponsored the “Women Who Dare to Dream” luncheon recognizing the contributions of women to the American Civil Rights Movement. I had the privilege of attending the luncheon on behalf of FedEx. This week, we celebrate the dedication of the memorial and Dr. King’s tremendous legacy to civil justice, which prompted these thoughts.
On balance, I think we all live in a society that is far more inclusive than the one our parents and grandparents grew up in. At work, I find there are more people that look like me, minorities and women, serving in high-level positions than in the recent past. Likewise, elected officials across national, state and local levels of government are increasingly diverse as they reflect the communities they serve.
This inclusiveness and increased diversity is a testament to the vision of Dr. King and those who worked alongside him—and to those that carry on his efforts today. This is not to say that we have already achieved his full vision. Indeed, the notion of a post-racial society is still a myth to many Americans and we must all continue to work so that race, gender, ethnicity, religious and sexual orientation are not impediments to growth and opportunity in our society.
So, it is our responsibility, as individuals, employers, employees and communities, to continue in Dr. King’s spirit. I am amazed to see how our different ethnicities, spiritual beliefs and social values peacefully and productively coexist in our society—and the public discourse about these issues and their impact on our country is, by and large, civilized and forward thinking. We live longer now. We work longer, too. We change careers and relocate far more often than we have in the past.
In these respects, American society reflects the world at large. At FedEx, we are aware of the implications of this transformation and work hard to embrace them in all of our business decisions. As a global company operating in more than 220 countries and territories, we rely on our wonderfully diverse team members around the world to deliver the Purple Promise every day and rely on them to fulfill our common mission.
Diversity can be a source of strength for any society that embraces it. In my own experience, I’ve found that people from different backgrounds bring unique insights. They are far more likely to understand the broader implications of a policy or business decision because of an enhanced, or even a different, perspective. As a result, they are able to generate more, often better and creative solutions to the problems we face as a business and as participants in our larger society.
We can all build on these strengths by finding ways to sustain Dr. King’s legacy. Supporting programs and organizations that promote greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace is one way. Living exemplary personal lives is another. In doing these things, we acknowledge the importance and the universality of his ideals.
FedEx supports the NAACP, La Raza, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and a number of others that perpetuate corporate and societal values that are consistent with Dr. King’s vision of America. And, FedEx is proud to have contributed more than $1 million to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.
This newest monument on the National Mall is a testament to his work that will inform and inspire those who visit it. It is also a reminder that equality, opportunity and justice are world values. Whether through our individual efforts or the organizations to which we contribute, we can all work toward fulfilling Dr. King’s dream.