As the EEO Officer for the NC Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources, I often work to promote diversity, foster mediation and coordinate discrmination cases, which can keep me busy since we have about 4,000 employees.
Yet, this past weekend I was reminded in a powerful way to keep working with a skip in my step because the Martin Luther King festivities I attended in the Raleigh, NC, area were inspirational.
We have to be reminded of how far we've come as a country to establish equal opportunity and a heightened sense of justice for all people, and nobody is more responsible for the giant steps in the right direction than Dr. King.
I was lucky to have seen him preach in person back in the mid-1960s when I was a teenager. I'm glad my mom and family wanted to go, which was unusual since we are white and were living in a little rural town south of Raleigh, where Dr. King held a service and public address.
The call for justice sounded back then are all now regular anti-discrimination laws we enforce in state government, and to which most everyone is used to and obeys, but it was not always the case. We just need to be reminded every year and know there are always new challenges--no so much in the rudimentary civil rights, such as public accommodations--but in equal opportunity in job training, salary, education and other processes morely easily manipulated in favor of the insiders and against the outsiders.