As kids, many of us believed that we could be and do whatever we put our minds to – there was no limit to our possibility. I know I heard that growing up from my father, a Black man born in 1912, who experienced discrimination and the effects of intolerance in his life and did everything he could to positively shape his family’s future. I can only imagine the challenges my father faced, but he never allowed circumstances to dictate the success he had. And in turn, his example inspired me to reach for greater opportunity.
My father and Dr. King had a similar perspective on life. They both realized that when one or more groups of people are marginalized, or intentionally left without resources, the potential of that community is stifled, which affects the societal ecosystem at large. When one group is deemed insignificant by the majority, it hurts the greater population.
As I reflect on my father’s experience and that of Dr. King and many others who have fought and continue to fight for equal rights, I can appreciate the determination they had, inspired by a future of greater possibilities for their children and all children. My father, Dr. King, and millions of others like them who made great efforts to make a decent living and raise a family during the civil rights era, understood the assignment, which was to persevere. They knew that self-determination and support from their community would be required to build a family, a community and leave a legacy.
In the video below, I share how my father’s guidance helped me push beyond what I think I could achieve: as a student, as a young professional and ultimately as AT&T’s first Black Chief Compliance Officer.
Equality, equity, and inclusiveness – all are required to help remove barriers so that we all reach our full potential. I and my fellow AT&T employees are grateful for the legacy of civil rights greats, like Dr. King, and the continued work of connecting to greater possibility through individual and collective action, to ensure a better future for the next generation.
Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech remains relevant to this very day. In that speech, Dr. King appealed to everyone listening to end racial, political, and economic inequalities. We know that when people have access – to education, economic empowerment, and an inclusive environment – the door to opportunity opens and possibility is limitless.
When thinking about how you can make a difference in your life and the lives of others, know this: No effort is too small when striving to address issues of equality, especially when it comes to empowering communities and being of service to others. We can appreciate what we’ve accomplished while aspiring for greater and setting goals to go above and beyond. We have the capacity to achieve equality for all. It is all possible and it is up to us. Let’s keep working. Together.
Many of us will never gather a crowd like Dr. King or march with thousands of like-minded people to effect change, my dad didn’t do either of those things, yet he made the biggest impact on me.
Everyone has the ability to effect change in actions big or small and to ultimately inspire.
Visit our DE&I website to learn more about the work we’re doing to Stand for Equality.