Keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream Alive More Important Than Ever
Like few periods in recent memory, the past year has exposed our country’s continuing struggle to address painful, long-standing and entrenched racial inequities in our communities, our public institutions and our economy. The grotesque killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, one of just many terrible examples of police violence and mistreatment against the Black community and other people of color, ignited national protests and passionate calls for long-overdue reform. The COVID pandemic has further laid bare stark systemic racial and economic inequities and injustices in our society. With little access to affordable health care and working in service industries that don’t allow for remote work, Black and Latinx communities are experiencing dramatically higher rates of infection and death than anyone else.
As we prepare to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.–one of our nation’s greatest civil rights leaders—these twin tragedies remind us of the continuing hard work that is needed to reach the “promised land” of equality, equity and freedom he envisioned. The Bay Area Council embraces Dr. King’s vision and is working through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee to raise awareness of issues of racial inequity and injustice, partner with other organizations on strategies to address them and incorporate the values of racial equity and justice across all our policy work to advocate for more housing, an end to homelessness, better transportation, easier access to affordable healthcare, and greater workforce opportunities, among many others.
We’re also extremely proud to be partnering with the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund—named in honor of our past Chair and Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO–to raise millions of dollars for a wide range of programs that serve communities of color. And we expect soon to be announcing a new partnership to expand racial and gender diversity in top leadership of companies. The road ahead to end racial inequities and injustice remains long and difficult, but we are committed to traveling that road and realizing Dr. King’s dream. To engage in our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, please contact Policy Associate Leslie Alfaro.