Global Impact

Realizing the dream

On Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, two Walgreens leaders remember the man, shine a light on his dream, and call on all of us to take on the work to realize it.

By Darion Cranfield and April Wafford

MLK Statue

aprilBy April Wafford, senior analyst for 340B client relationship specialty strategy and vice chair of African-American Leadership, a business resource group for Walgreens team members  

When I think about Dr. King and what today means to me, I think about the story my grandfather would always share with us.

In 1967, Dr. King visited Louisville, Ky., my hometown, to speak out against the unfair housing laws that made segregated housing policies legal and allowed landlords to discriminate based on race. This particular visit was of great importance to my grandparents, as they experienced housing discrimination themselves due to local redlining laws. My grandfather would share with great detail all about the day he met Dr. King, and how there was tension throughout the city.

Dr. King’s visit, according to accounts at the time, was met with hostility. Racial slurs were shouted at him, rocks were thrown at his vehicle and he was even spit at. But through the adversity, he went on to share his dream with the people of Louisville. It was a dream of an open city, with housing available for everyone. This visit along with many others around the country proved to be a great step in the journey toward passing of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, and it’s a moment my grandfather never forgot.

While today is about the remembrance of Dr. King, the man, it is important to remember that Dr. King’s dream is still alive and well.

Just as he stood at the forefront of equality and justice in the 1960s, many are standing boldly in the fight against injustice and hate today.

Dr. King once said, “It is not possible to be in favor of justice for some and not be in favor of justice for all.” 

As we work toward achieving a more diverse, inclusive, equitable workplace, joining a business resource group (BRG) is a great way for our team members to make their work experience richer. I’m so proud of the business resource groups we have at WBA, the support we give to each other and the ways in which we respectively listen, teach and grow together. I can say from personal experience that being a part of the African-American Leadership (AAL) BRG and other BRGs has played a pivotal role in my work experience.


 

darionBy Darion Cranfield, senior program manager, facilities, and chair of African-American Leadership, a business resource group for Walgreens team members  

It is my absolute privilege to serve as the chair of AAL, and I am humbled as I take a moment to celebrate the life, legacy and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I recently decided to listen to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech again, from beginning to end, this time with my entire family. It is filled with so much substance, and I would encourage everyone to listen for yourself.

This time around, his speech took on new meaning for me.

The poignant tenor that Dr. King uses to communicate the necessity for change resonates more today than ever before. For me, the call to action is even greater than it was nearly 60 years ago because we have witnessed progress. We, as a nation, have started to climb the mountain of justice, even though the summit still seems so far.

And if I am being honest, in some ways it feels like we have descended a bit at this point in our climb.

But as I listened once again to Dr. King’s address to the nation, I realized there was so much hope and mentions of faith. I, too, am a man of faith. I have confidence in what is hoped for, such as justice and equality, and assurance about what I do not see, such as peace and true freedom.

The progress this country has collectively made since 1963 helps me keep that faith, and the same is true for many others.

But faith without work is dead.

So it’s on all of us to either start or continue to do the work – the necessary work – to proactively press toward the complete realization of Dr. King’s dream.

I am proud to be associated with an organization like Walgreens who continues to take bold steps to celebrate and advocate for disenfranchised groups. Walgreens has committed to doing the work – and we all must, too. Together.

Because while today is the moment to shine a spotlight on his dream, tomorrow is the time to continue his work.

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