In a current climate where diversity and inclusion are familiar themes echoed across our nation, it is important to remember the influencers who planted the seeds for this movement to grow and flourish. A founding father of the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his progressive ideals of equality and racial harmony polarized the country. Dr. King’s advocacy for equal opportunity and rights for oppressed African Americans living in the United States was both pioneering and revolutionary for his time.
Born 15 January 1929 in Atlanta, GA, Dr. King was an outspoken Baptist minister committed to advocating for the change he wanted to see in the world. A natural public speaker, he organized peaceful protests ignited with passionate speeches born to inspire and activate others to join in his cause. Regrettably, Dr. King’s civil rights activism was often received with violent opposition. His family home in Montgomery, AL was firebombed in 1956, and he was stabbed in an assassination attempt just a year and a half later. Still committed to his cause and determined to choose peace over brutality he said, “The experience of these last few days [post stabbing] has deepened my faith in the relevance of the spirit of nonviolence, if necessary social change is peacefully to take place.”
Dr. King could not be dissuaded from his convictions. He participated in and organized multiple civil rights gatherings promoting equality, with the prominent March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom among the most famous. In this 1963 rally, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King gave his most famous address now known as the “I Have a Dream” speech to more than 200,000 people. A gifted speaker, Dr. King later revealed the “I have a dream” declaration was an improvised addition to his script. In this address, Dr. King shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” In response to this address and his collective civil rights work, Dr. King was selected as TIME Magazine’s 1963 “Man of the Year” and became the youngest winner of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at age 35. Dr. King’s leadership, though met with extreme opposition at times, gained momentum and national recognition in the country he was so determined to peacefully influence.
Tragically, Dr. King’s work was prematurely disrupted due to his untimely death by assassination on 4 April 1968, but his ideals have continued to be promoted by his successors and the general population who advocate for human rights. Without Dr. King’s unwavering dedication to promoting inclusion, many American citizens would not have so soon benefitted from The Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination and racial segregation in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 – two noteworthy bills that changed the trajectory of equality in this country.
Kingfisher Systems, Inc. (Kingfisher) is an organization founded by people encouraged by Dr. King, his peers in the civil rights movement, and those who continue to hold the torch of equality in his honor. JoAnn Tibbs, Kingfisher’s Vice President of Administration and a minority woman who witnessed many acts of racial discrimination in the 1950s and 60s felt it fitting to reflect on her own contribution to support equality in the workplace. “On the day that we remember Dr. King’s battle for justice and inclusion, I ask myself, is Kingfisher doing its part to encourage a diverse workplace? And to that, I answer, ‘yes!’”
Kingfisher’s management team ensures that all hiring, promotion, and welfare processes and programs show evidence of equal opportunity for all applicants. We post our job openings to diversity sites, taking advantage of valuable resources including the Veterans Employment Center, the Wounded Warrior Project, and specialized niche job sites to ensure adequate representation of qualified minority and female applicants. Kingfisher is pleased to report one third of our current personnel population are minorities, and one quarter are female.
While efforts to promote diversity and inclusion continue throughout our country and the world, we at Kingfisher hope our demonstration of equal opportunity for all is mirrored both within and outside of our industry. In its 34th year as an observed federal holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a day of somber remembrance and hopeful celebration. In the spirit of Dr. King, our team at Kingfisher encourage you to exercise your influence and forge a better tomorrow.
For more information on Kingfisher, including career opportunities and our commitment to community service, please visit www.kingfishersys.com.