The third Monday every January commemorates the life and work of the American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Although workers across our nation generally have the day off, the best way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is to consider the holiday a “day on” with community involvement instead.
Clayco’s Black Resource Group (BRG) and marketing team created this flyer to showcase events that people can attend virtually or in person in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including a day of reflection and service, volunteering, community celebrations, and more. BRG’s mission is to help provide a path toward equal opportunity and ensure that Black employees feel safe and welcome in their workspace. I strongly encourage you to attend any of the events listed to join us in creating more inclusive and equitable communities.
As a 10-year-old in elementary school, I saw a documentary that featured Dr. King eloquently speaking of having been to the mountaintop (his last speech before his untimely death), and it inspired me to push my boundaries. From then on, I put myself to the test both mentally and physically, and in the last 20 years, I’ve been able to hike in the Grand Canyon, take multiple trips to Nepal, reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Capitol Peak, and so much more. However, my most significant accomplishments have come from education and the opportunities and advancements I have facilitated for underprivileged people and communities.
Hiking is where I get some time away to think about deeper issues like racial equality and how to make an impact. I am thankful for the moments of solitude and reflection I have on the mountainside – and that Dr. King inspired me to live more deeply. He believed that to cure a world filled with darkness and hate, the only remedies would be light and love.
My real wake-up call to racial inequality and the lack of diversity in design and construction happened the first day I opened the Clayco office in St. Louis. It was in a disadvantaged part of town, and an 11-year-old African-American boy approached me asking for a job because he needed to take care of his family. This interaction not only made me sharply aware of the reality of inequality but also sparked my lifelong engagement with these issues – and that young man, Todd, became a priceless part of my family.
MLK Day reminds me of the importance of diversity, perseverance, and never backing down from a challenge – no matter how intimidating it may seem. Our team at Clayco constantly works to spread our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our industry and communities with innovative initiatives. Programs like CCDI bring variety to our field by mentoring and exposing minority/underrepresented and under-employed workers to career development – and have had 75 trained and placed program graduates into full-time employment since 2015.
The drive for diversity and inclusion begins with influential leadership and a willingness to go the extra mile. We must follow in Dr. King’s footsteps to bridge racial divides, promote education and empathy, and ultimately evolve our communities.
We are in a moment in history where we can create even greater receptivity to the challenges that result from systemic racism and inequality through open conversations and initiatives dedicated to anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. We must reach a sustainable solution together, which is why we at Clayco work to be a part of the solution by ensuring the well-being of people from all walks of life – within our walls and beyond.