18 Jan Criterion Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
For the past few years on this day, we have selected a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that we found particularly relevant to the situation at hand. This year, we chose the one pictured above, “I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” We invited Criterion employees to reflect on this quote or share another they particularly like. You will find them below.
We also thought this was a perfect time to share Criterion’s philosophy on diversity and inclusion:
- Criterion believes in recruiting, hiring, and promoting a diverse set of employees to ensure our teams provide the most innovative information technology services to our customers.
- Criterion leaders and managers believe that listening to and engaging with diverse ideas and perspectives enables us to better meet our customers’ missions and increases the overall success of our company.
- Our employees reflect the diversity of this great nation, and we will continue to warmly welcome individuals of different races, ethnicities, gender identities, disabilities, and other characteristics.
- Criterion is compliant with all equal employment laws and regulations, and is dedicated to supporting diversity/inclusion initiatives, including through our corporate philanthropy.
Our CEO Promod Sharma says, “The motto of our country is e pluribus unum – out of many, one. As we reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I think this is a very appropriate way to frame diversity and inclusion within our company as well. I am proud to say that our employees truly represent the diversity of this great nation. By bringing together people from many backgrounds and perspectives to work towards one goal – meeting our customers’ missions – we benefit from increased innovation and productivity. Our company is stronger and more successful as a result. It is worth repeating: Embracing diversity makes us stronger – for our company and our nation.”
Since 2009, Criterion has been a sponsor (a patron sponsor since 2017) of The Women’s Center (TWC), an organization that provides mental health counseling, support, and education to the metropolitan area to help people live healthy, stable, and productive lives. This includes supporting career education for many groups, including women, men, minorities, and even teens/adolescents. TWC holds an annual Women’s Leadership Conference and hosts a variety of content such as webinars and training programs designed to help women enter or re-enter the workforce after a break. Our employees have volunteered and participated in these efforts in the past and will continue to do so. Criterion also supports and has been certified by several military/veteran organizations, and are we are currently researching other ways to support diversity and inclusion organizations and initiatives, making it a key theme of our employee engagement and communications in 2021. We’ll share our progress with you throughout the year.
In closing, we wanted to share some thoughts and insights from people across Criterion on these topics.
- Amy: Something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said that has resonated with me for decades is, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It has guided many of my personal decisions and remains a helpful touchstone for my work in human resources.
- Alvin: I also love the quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
- Bakul: On August 28, 1963, under sweltering August sun, Martin Luther King Jr., delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech around the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC. Dr. King knew it would not be easy to bring together the disparate voices of our nation into a beautiful symphony, but he never gave up – his dream of civil rights endures. If that dream was relevant then, it is ever more relevant now. We all must believe in the dream of America – no matter your political persuasion, we are first and foremost American. And only if we all put our shoulder to the wheel can we hope to get to the shining city on the hill.
- Angelo: My favorite quote from Dr. King has always been this one: “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies; but only the silence of our friends.” For me, failure to raise one’s voice in support of the oppressed or downtrodden is to yield the floor – morally and physically – to those who seek to deny others their basic human rights. One cannot say they are a supporter if one stands idly by while injustice is perpetrated around them. Silence, in this case, equals complicity.
- Robert: Considering the trying times in which we are living, I find this quote from Dr. King especially applicable today, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” We need unity in our country and only love of thy neighbor will bring that about.
- Rodney: I also like this one, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
- Donna: I’d like to share two quotes that seem particularly relevant to me today of all days. The first is by Booker T. Washington, “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good just because it’s accepted by a majority.” The second is one I recently saw on a billboard, “That ‘Love Thy Neighbor’ thing….I meant that – God.”
- Kim: There is nothing more important than making sure every employee, customer, and client feel valued, appreciated, and welcome. We need each other, not just to conduct business effectively, but to have quality lives and meaningful relationships. Each person, with his or her unique experiences and histories brings a fresh perspective. We are all made better by including and considering everyone.
- Alexus: In college, I remember analyzing Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” King stated, “Let us all hope that the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away, and the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear-drenched communities. And in some not-too-distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.” This is my favorite quote from him as it provides a sense of hope and new beginnings.
- Bradley: My favorite Dr. King quote is, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
- Dennis: On this day, I would like to share a quote from Jesse Jackson, “When everyone is included, everyone wins.”
- Errick: As William Sloane Coffin Jr. said, “Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps, the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.” I am hoping the new year brings positive transformative change for the Nation and its citizens, as we move forward to address our need for this most valuable of the American attributes.
- Marcus: Diversity enriches our company culture and enhances the success of our brand.
- Russell: Diversity helped fuel the Renaissance movement in 15th Century. The Medici effect is a name given to the idea that increased creativity and innovation occurs through diversity. When ideas and talented people from different fields are brought together to collaborate, step-changes can occur. This…[sharing of ideas] helped fuel the Renaissance.
- Brian: As Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
- Gregory: Diversity and inclusion are values that drive our IT environment here alongside our customer-partners. Varying backgrounds, technical expertise, and our diverse career experiences are a strength. Co-workers who have spent time overseas (Asia and the Middle East) brought back and shared with me the values of these nations. These regions place heavy emphasis upon continued learning and a shared sense of responsibility. Strong ties with people who have a diverse background and who have spent time in other cultures have values/ideas we should embrace for a stronger and more fun workplace.
- Ed: Inclusion in the workplace is essential for a well-rounded team. Multiple viewpoints, multiple opinions, and multiple ideologies make for a more vibrant workplace.
- Antoine: As Dr. King said, “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
- Michelle: I like this quote from Dr. King: “That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”
- Krishnan: “To stand out tall, be seated.”
- Ashley: I’ve always liked this MLK quote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- Gary: This quote by Lebron James has always stood out to me: “People will hate you, rate you, shake you and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you.”
- Joyce: The world would be a boring place if there were more than one of me.
- Vinu: Diversity is reflection of society in a particular region; having diversity in a workplace will provide an opportunity for us to interact and understand people from different social, racial, and communal backgrounds, including their gender and sexual orientation. I believe diversity at the workplace enables and improves empathy in individuals, which will help to increase harmony and equality in society.
- Joshua: There are two MLK quotes I really appreciate. The first is, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” The second is, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
- Crystal: How stagnant life would be if we were all the same.
- Erron: This is the quote I appreciate, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
- Bryan: Diversity allows people to accept themselves as well as others. It makes them more rounded individuals who can learn from others and respect people from different walks of life. It allows us to evolve.
- Teri: Here are two quotes I would like to share today. First, from Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn, “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.” The second is by Ryunosuke Satoro, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”