For members of embRACE (the JM Diversity & Inclusion Employee Resource Group focused on general race and culture), Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was one of celebration, an opportunity to give thanks and a time to express their dedication to ensuring that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of equality for all becomes reality.
Members of the embRACE group walked in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission’s “Marade” on January 17. The annual Marade is the only event of its kind in the nation, bringing together as many as 90,000 people to
celebrate the life and impact of human rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The first Marade in Denver took place in 1986.
Today, it includes events such as a wreath laying, a march/parade, and more. You can learn more about the event here.
On January 14th, a Business Awards luncheon is held by the Commission to recognize individuals, corporations and non-profit organizations for Celebrating Content of Character. JM Account Specialist Dominique Davis has been volunteering for this event alongside her mother (Deborah Kulas, Chief Reservationist) in the past and presented this event to the group for JM to participate in. “We purchased a table for the MLK Business Awards Luncheon this year! I thought the luncheon would be something really great for JM to participate in. I have been volunteering on the day of the event for the past three years now and that is how I was able to get JM involved. It is an incredible event and a wonderful way to honor a man who was a
trailblazer for people like myself,” Dominique said. You can learn more about the luncheon here.
In addition to these events, Dominique Davis and Steve Kondracki, HR Manager for Roofing Systems, invited a former federal prosecutor to have a conversation about race at our JMTC location in Littleton, CO. Jason St. Julien, now Lead Counsel of Community Trust for Airbnb, spoke with 20 JMers about transforming conversations about race as a tool to drive change and improve diversity and inclusion at work and in the community.
“(Jason) is a fearless leader and an individual who continues to have the tough conversations on race that not everyone in his power is made to have, and I think that is very important,” Dominique said.
Jason addressed the group by saying, “What better way to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. than to be able to have a conversation such as this? I’m committed to facilitating this conversation in such a way that you and everyone else in here have some new thought, view, perspective or action to take, as it relates to race, that you did not have when you walked in here this morning.”
St. Julien, who penned a column for the Denver Post in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, provided the group with tips on how to talk about race, particularly in the workplace – encouraging people to listen with intent to understand, rather than to respond and to focus on connecting as humans.
He further urged attendees to continue to have such crucial conversations in their communities and homes, adding, “I’d rather you blow it then to sit back and let your silence be seen as agreement.”
“People shared their own experiences with race-related fears, concerns and life experiences, and we left with a call to action,” noted Kondracki. “We hope that this is a catalyst and that we’ll have more conversations and action items in the near future,” he added.