As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, we're proud to announce the formation of Blacks@Progress, a Progress community and an employee resource group (ERG).
MLK Day in the U.S. commemorates and celebrates the honorable life and contributions of Dr. King. He championed racial justice and equality and spoke of a “vibrant, multinational nation united in justice, peace and reconciliation; a nation that has a place at the table for children of every race and room at the inn for every needy child.”
King grew up in a time where segregationist Jim Crow laws worsened the impact that racism, segregation and discrimination were already having on Blacks in the U.S. Influenced by his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, King dedicated his life to the nonviolent struggle for racial equality. The causes closest to him were ending both racial violence and voter suppression and achieving desegregation.
In his famous “I Have A Dream” speech delivered in August 1963 on the Nation Mall in Washington, D.C., King illuminated American’s failure to make progress since the Emancipation Proclamation and called for equality and the end of racism towards Blacks in America.
I am an African American born in the early 1970s. I learned from the experiences of my parents and grandparents who were born in rural Clarendon County, South Carolina, during the era of sharecropping and Jim Crow laws. A place and time when laws were enacted that dictated the schools that Black people couldn’t attend, where the voting rights were systematically denied, and established areas or neighborhoods where Blacks could and could not choose to reside.
Today, we all benefit from the impact that Dr. King’s legacy has had on the lives of Blacks and other races in the U.S embroiled in the fight for civil rights.
As a child and young adult, I benefitted from the racial diversity present in Philadelphia schools I attended and the neighborhoods in which I resided. My father attended a historically Black college because it was an institution in which he felt safe, both mentally and physically. Due to King’s efforts, I was afforded the right to explore all available options.
Today, we officially announce the formation of Blacks@Progress.
The mission of Blacks@Progress is to foster and sustain an environment at Progress that will advocate for the recruitment, retention and professional advancement of Black Progress employees and prospects at all job levels. We hope to inspire and invigorate our existing Black employees while creating opportunities for leadership development, networking, mentoring, education, service and community outreach. We also aim to attract new talent worldwide by helping to identify resources to aid in increasing the pipeline of talent from schools.
In King's honor, many celebrate this day by volunteering and serving others. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of MLK Day events are being held virtually and will be accessible from the comfort of your home.
While Dr. King’s legacy has had a remarkable impact on civil rights in the U.S., as occurrences in the year 2020 have demonstrated, racial bias, violence, injustice and voter suppression are all still very much prevalent in today’s society.
It is up to each of us to be the change that we want to see.
Rochelle Wheeler is a Sr. Project Manager with Progress’s Professional Services Team and focuses on the OpenEdge, Sitefinity, and Corticon suite of solutions. With over two decades of successful marketing and project management experience, she has launched campaigns for companies ranging from boutique agencies to Fortune 500 enterprises. You can follow her on LinkedIn.
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