28 Aug Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, often referred to simply as the March on Washington, was a historic civil rights demonstration on August 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C. It was a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement and played a significant role in advancing the cause of racial equality and civil rights for African Americans.
What is the March on Washington?
Several civil rights organizations, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), among others, helped to organize the March on Washington. The need for this march stemmed from a rapidly growing tide of grassroots support and outrage over the nation's racial inequities. The rally drew over 260,000 people from across the country. The march's goal was to advocate for civil rights legislation, including desegregation of public schools, fair employment practices, and ending racial segregation and discrimination. Celebrated as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — speeches of the 20th century, Dr. King's celebrated speech, "I Have a Dream," was carried live by television stations nationwide.
The “I Have a Dream” speech 60 years ago resonated with many people during a time of much discrimination and racial segregation. The speech and the March on Washington helped pave the way for the American government to pass monumental federal voting rights legislation and the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, resulting in significant racial progress for people of color across America. However, some may say that in 2023, the improvement is stagnant, and we have yet to achieve the dream Dr. King spoke of in 1963. Police brutality, economic inequity, and institutional racism are still a part of the lived experience for many people of color in America. Concurrently, many have come to believe that companies must serve a broader set of stakeholders beyond their shareholders, including their employees, customers, and communities in which they operate. From this lens, leaders can aspire to be part of the solution, leading change in their workplaces by creating equitable, inclusive workplaces where employees can belong and make an impact.
Actions Organizations Can Take to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Honoring the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is a meaningful way for workplaces to show their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here are some actions workplaces can take to commemorate this historic event:
Educational Programs. Host workshops, seminars, or panel discussions on the history and significance of the March on Washington and the broader civil rights movement. Invite historians, civil rights activists, or experts to speak and engage employees in meaningful conversations.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion TrainingProvide DEI training for employees to increase awareness of bias, discrimination, and the importance of fostering an inclusive workplace. Use this anniversary to reinforce the organization's commitment to DEI.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)Encourage the formation of Employee Resource Groups focused on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. These groups can organize events to create safe spaces for dialogue and initiatives related to civil rights and social justice.
Volunteer Opportunities. Encourage employees to volunteer for organizations and causes that promote civil rights, equality, and social justice. Offer paid time off or other incentives to support employees' involvement in community service.
Diversity in LeadershipAssess and work on increasing diversity in leadership positions within the organization. Highlight the achievements of diverse leaders and acknowledge their contributions.
Inclusive Policies. Review and update company policies to align with diversity, equity, and inclusion principles. Consider policies related to hiring practices, equal pay, promotion, and harassment prevention.
Charitable Donations. Make charitable contributions to organizations that support civil rights, social justice, and racial equality. Encourage employees to donate and provide matching gift programs.By taking these actions, employers can demonstrate their commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion while honoring the legacy of the March on Washington and the ongoing struggle for civil rights and social justice.
For more questions or comments and to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at DEI@ouroffice.io. Our team is here to support you in any way we can.