Diversity: Is the glass half empty or half full?

Martin Luther King

Today, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's actual birthday on January 15th, 93 years ago. He won a Nobel Peace Prize at 35. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the young age of 39.

His death makes me contemplate, "Did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr sacrifice his life for a better world?" In other words, did his death establish him as a martyr or a role model? The former suggests his death triggered a change, but the latter remind us of his work that remains undone.

The glass half empty bemoans a history of injustices that MLK sought to correct.
The glass half full proclaims a series of missed opportunities, so that today's students can be motivated to participate, and to contemplate how our world might become more just.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) said that MLK’s influence to create opportunities for everyone amounts to HBR's conclusion: “diversity makes good business sense." It is an aspect of MLK's practical and effective approaches that is not well-known, or at least not clear in how his lessons apply to every one of us, today.

A school district is primarily an educational and social ecosystem, but fiscally operates as a not-for-profit business. Its 'product' is education; 'customers' are the students; employees the teachers; leaders the administrators and board. Unbeknownst to many in the general public, a student generates 'revenue' for the district via its daily attendance - the more students enrolled and the more attendance days, the more revenue. Inversely, one sick day is one day revenue lost from that student for the district. 

MLK's lessons show us that diversity directly improves fiscal health, and as a minority small business owner, I recognize how to achieve aspirational goals with fiscal responsibilities. As a parent of two young children, I want all RBUSD children to know they can both dream and achieve.

Two quotes from Dr. King come to mind:

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
"Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?"

Will we fulfill an opportunity to vote in diversity at our election on Tuesday, March 2, 2021?

Dr. Martin Luther King

Blake, John (CNN): "MLK was a Republican and other myths"
Crockett, Roger (HBR). "The Unmet Dream: Martin Luther King Jr. and Diversity at the Top."
Delacroix, Julia. "The Problem With the 'Disney Version of History.'"
Joonko. "Diversity Heroes: Martin Luther King, Jr."
Lynch, Matthew. "Diverse Conversations: What Would MLK Say About Diversity in Higher Ed?"

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