By: Lauren Sato, CEO

This Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, much of our country is grappling with the renewed awareness that white supremacy is still alive and well in our country. And nearly 53 years after his assassination, the Promised Land King dreamt of still feels far out of reach for so many. At Ada this weekend, we are thinking specifically about the critical connection in Dr. King’s dream between freedom and jobs.

In the latest US jobs report, we learned that we lost 140,000 jobs in December – all of them held by women of color. Women lost 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000. So, while some are saying of current events, “This is not who we are,” we have to firmly disagree. As a country, our racism runs deep in our economic and power structures. We have a great deal of work to do to build systems that will help us become who we aspire to be: a resilient community based on an inclusive economy.

How do we get there? We can start by creating equal access to and preparation for our highest paying, most benefit-heavy, and flexible jobs. Next, we can build an infrastructure that supports employment for all, starting with a deep investment in childcare and public broadband. These are our new bridges and roads.

This is big work that we have to do together. So, this weekend we are urging our community to take a moment to do two really tangible things:

  1. Learn, unlearn, relearn. Spend some time examining what you know about Dr. King, the vision he had for our country, and the tie between freedom and jobs.  Here are some resources to support your learning:
  • Explore the impact of our current power structures on our communities of color with Jenna Hanchard, our Dir. of Corporate Learning (this is her personal work in partnership with KUOW, and is not the property of Ada Developers Academy)
  • Browse the online workshops provided by The Seattle Martin Luther King, Jr. Organizing Coalition available all week.
  • Join the 39th annual  MLK Rally and March, taking place at Garfield High School in Seattle on 1/18. 
  • Check out the virtual events the Northwest African American Museum is hosting.
  • Attend a virtual community performance hosted by Lift Every Voice Legacy partnered with Communities of Color Coalition.

2. Commit to doing one thing to dismantle white supremacy in your workplace, and tell at least one person about your commitment to help you stick to it.

 “Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality.  For we know now that it isn’t enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis on March 18, 1968