Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr Remembered

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For me, it is the day to remember what he stood for and what he did for America - he defined equality, diversity and inclusion.

As an Asian American growing up in the Midwest, I saw the difference between people of different races, but I didn't quite pin down what it was because I was so young. It was in 2001 when I first heard the word diversity at my workplace. It was a woman by the name of Claudette Whiting who came in and introduced it to my company, Microsoft, and started a conversation for diversity and inclusion so to value the differences we as employees were contributing to the workplace. Places I worked before were homogenous and focused only on having an amiable and workable environment. At the time, Microsoft was a company of 35,000 employees and over time and nearly a decade later, Microsoft grew to be a company of 90,000 employees worldwide. This growth impacted the way people worked and there was a need for understanding differences in people. Claudette did an amazing job and led the conversation and instituted new programs that in following years integrated into the culture of Microsoft and that grew in greater demand.

One event she introduced was the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Inclusion event to remember and reflect on Dr. King's work, beliefs and inspire us to contribute to the conversation. It was at this event, I got to meet and introduce the Honorable Gary Locke, now US Secretary of Commerce. It was also at this event that I shifted from sitting in the stands to participating in the conversation and sharing what I learned.

Figure 1. Honorable Gary Locke (US Secretary of Commerce), Maggie Carrido (Microsoft), and Gil Gido at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Inclusion event at Microsoft (2008).

Thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.; Claudette Whiting, and the Honorable Gary Locke for being leaders and role models for us all.


Gil Gido
NAAAP Seattle

Note: The Seattle Times has a special website for remembering Martin Luther King Jr. Take some time to remember and visit their website.

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