By Corey Anthony, SVP – Chief Diversity & Development Officer, AT&T
It’s been 57 years since Martin Luther King Jr’s historic I have a dream speech during the March on Washington. Today, his dream lives on, but there is still more work to be done.
Today marks 57 years since the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. This year, AT&T is proud to support this week’s Commitment March in Washington D.C. to restore and recommit to his dream.
We stand in solidarity with those leading the march, the families of George Floyd, Eric Garner and others who have lost loved ones to police brutality, and those who are reeling from tragedies such as Jacob Blake’s which have become painfully commonplace. We stand committed to acting boldly to reform our criminal justice system.
When we act boldly, real change is possible. Just one year after Dr. King’s dream speech, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. And, a year after that, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. Today, our nation is engaging in more meaningful conversations about the weight of racism carried every day by Black people and other people of color. We cannot squander this moment. We can’t allow disappointment, or worse yet, apathy to stop our mission. We must take action now to demand lasting change and work closer to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.
AT&T is leading the way through the following action items:
Advocating for criminal justice reform at the federal, state and local levels of government, with our chairman and former CEO, Randall Stephenson, leading the effort through his involvement with the Business Roundtable. We have supported 16 state legislative proposals thus far and we are currently tracking legislation in 7 other states still in session. We will continue to actively engage to make an impact on local communities as many states will begin new legislative sessions.
Contributing tens of millions of dollars to third party organizations to help in the fight against racial injustice as one facet of our support for civil rights and the advancement of equity.
Investing $215 million over the last five years to provide education, skills building and career readiness opportunities in Black and other underrepresented communities.
Committing to spend $3 billion dollars with Black-owned suppliers by the end of 2020, a goal that is nearly 90 percent complete.
Dr. King said, “Now is the time,” which is just as true today as it was 57 years ago. We are called to live up to our ideals, to make lasting changes in our attitudes and architecture.