Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been observed since the late 1980s. On this day, we pause to reflect upon the great contributions that he made as a servant leader and civil rights activist. In remembrance, Cadent was closed this past Monday.
At Cadent, we think of MLK Day as “a day on, not a day off.” Accordingly, we encourage our staff to take this day as an opportunity to volunteer locally or engage with their community.
This year, Cadent’s DiShawn Vance and Khadijah Freeman – who recently volunteered to lead and launch the Black Employee Network @ Cadent – participated in virtual events in honor of Dr. King. Read their key takeaways from the events below.
The following has been lightly edited and condensed.
Khadijah Freeman, Help Desk Analyst
I was fortunate enough to be able to join two virtual MLK events! On Monday, I attended the “42nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon” and “25th Annual MLK Virtual Celebration.” Overall, both events made me think about how I can keep MLK’s dream alive. I learned a lot from each session, so my family and I will look forward to participating every year in the future. These are some of the questions that I’m reflecting on:
- What are you doing to create change in your community?
- Are you reaching out to your Statesmen to protect voters’ rights?
- Moving forward, what can we do to keep MLK’s dream alive?
- Would he be disappointed looking at where we are today?
Each session also referenced books that I thought were worth mentioning! In her memoir, Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken, and How to Change It, retired judge of the Superior Court of California, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell writes about her path to becoming a judge as a Black woman. The book, The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Malaika Tubbs touches on the ways MLK was inspired by his mother.
DiShawn Vance, Broadcast Ops Specialist
Earlier this week, I participated in the University of Pennsylvania’s MLK Day of Service Virtual Kick-Off. Members of UPenn’s Black Associate Group organized an interactive class where attendees learned the moves of traditional dance, listened to powerful poetry, and heard from numerous speakers including Senator Bob Casey. Here are a few things that stood out to me:
- In her keynote speech, Jamie Gauthier challenged the audience with the question, “How would King’s values apply if he were here today?” This is something that resonated with me as I considered how without Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the world as we know it today would look very different.
- We should use this day and every day to understand that engagement makes a difference in our society.
- Dr. Charles Chaz Howard shared, “We are taking the baton to move forward and continue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work.”