Every January 8th, my parents would sing Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’ to me as I blew out the candles on my birthday cake. Little did I know at the time, Stevie Wonder created that song in 1981 as a way to campaign for Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday to become a nationally recognized holiday. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill making a federal holiday in honor of Dr. King’s life and achievements.
Dr. King is easily considered America’s greatest human rights advocate. For me personally, Dr. King is more than just the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Award, he was one of the first black men I laid my eyes on in a school history book. He was one of the first black men I learned who was respected and loved by everyone, no matter their skin color. Dr. King’s message of equality for all, regardless of race, class, or gender, was led with the overall theme love. And since he led with love, so many people around the world loved him back.
Dr. King’s spirit, ideology, and love is still within all of us, especially at ERPi. One of the ways ERPi chooses to celebrate its employees and follow Dr. King’s examples is through the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) corporate initiative. It’s because of Dr. King’s spirit that the topic of the intersection of technology, diversity, and inclusion can be discussed within ERPI’s D&I Book club, where people from all walks of life are encouraged to join and participate. Dr. King’s ideology is what inspires D&I’s overarching goal of cultivating a strong sense of inclusion, promoting diversity which all strengthens the ERPi community overall. Just as Dr. King fought tirelessly to ensure that all people had equal opportunities to live their lives, without fear of violence and discrimination, ERPi works to ensure that all employees feel welcomed and comfortable expressing their authentic selves in the workplace.
Perhaps this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday as you enjoy your day off, and even the days after, perhaps play Stevie Wonder’s ‘Happy Birthday’ one time as a thank you for the love that Dr. King has instilled in all of us. And let us all continue to lead with love.