What Martin Luther King Jr. Day Means to Leaders of CrowdStrike’s Black Employee Resource Group

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday in the United States of America, a day on which we honor and observe the life and impact of Dr. and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. During the civil rights movement, Dr. King embodied the mission and purpose of Black people and allies seeking equity — seeking a fair shot at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Dr. King was sitting in a Birmingham jail after being arrested for leading peaceful protests against segregation when he wrote the famous words: 

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Rather than seeking revenge or pitting one community against the other, Dr. King taught us about the interconnectivity of humanity. This is our focus at CrowdStrike, as our employee resource groups and organizations at the company work together to create an equity model and, therefore, a more inclusive work environment.

Le Var Seymore, Team BELIEVE Co-Lead

Aspen Lindblom, Team BELIEVE Co-Lead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team BELIEVE is CrowdStrike’s employee resource group (ERG) dedicated to building community and support for Black employees. The term BELIEVE stands for Black Employees Leading in Inclusion, Excellence, Vision and Education. 

Our Team BELIEVE Co-Leads Aspen Lindblom and Le Var Seymore discuss the significance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and what it means to them.

Q: Can you explain your role as an employee resource group lead for CrowdStrike’s Black employee resource group?

Aspen: As a co-lead I work closely with Le Var to build community for Black employees, amplify our voices, and build and execute on initiatives and ideas brought forth by other members. We remain focused on empowering and elevating Black employees at CrowdStrike.

Le Var: Aspen and I work in tandem to build on and retain Black talent at CrowdStrike. By facilitating a variety of actions, such as promoting the brand to our targeted demographic, raising cultural awareness and assisting with employee career path efforts, we aim to ensure CrowdStrike is a great place to work for all.

Q: In your own words, how do you define Martin Luther King Jr. Day?

Aspen: I define Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a time to reflect on the civil rights movement, how far we have come as a society since then, how Black Lives Matter is a continuation of the civil rights movement and what progress still lies ahead of us.

Le Var: Dr. King was one of the most influential voices of the Black civil rights movement. On this day, we should reflect on the journey but also focus on reaching the destination. As a country, we have made progress, but inequality and injustice didn’t end when Dr. King was assassinated. Whether we focus on our local community or strive to help with global efforts, everyone reading this can make an impact on making Dr. King’s dream become a true reality.

Q: CrowdStrike recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a corporate holiday. What significance does this hold for you? 

Aspen: I’m happy that CrowdStrike recognizes Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a corporate holiday. It shows that they care — that they are listening to us.

Le Var: I take pride in knowing I work for an organization that acknowledges the significance of honoring Dr. King’s memory. Many companies grant “floating holidays” in lieu of identifying specific events, but highlighting the actual federal holiday shows that CrowdStrike recognizes the impact of Dr. King and how his legacy should be celebrated by all.

Q: How can people choose to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day? 

Le Var: In school, we were taught to use the time to increase our knowledge of Dr. King and the civil rights movement. To do so, many people visit museums or enjoy a movie day consisting of content targeted at injustice. In addition, you’d be surprised how impactful speaking to children in your family about Dr. King can be. This is a great way to help Dr. King’s memory live on with future generations. Others choose to be the change Dr. King envisioned by addressing injustice they’ve seen in their life or by donating to organizations focused on the fight for racial justice. The list of ways to celebrate Dr. King’s memory is endless, and your actions don’t have to be limited to one day. 

Aspen: People can choose to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day any way they see fit. They can educate themselves further about Martin Luther King Jr., because what we were taught in school was not enough. There is more nuance to Martin Luther King Jr. than his “I Have a Dream” speech. People can volunteer, or choose to support Black-owned businesses or organizations that fight for racial justice. Or take the day to learn how they can work to end racism in their own life.

It’s important that people recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day in a way that is personal to them. There are a lot of ways to engage: education, volunteerism, investment, social justice action and more.

  • Education: Given that we weren’t taught enough about the civil rights movement or history regarding Black experience, education about history and also present-day is a great place to start. Often, people’s understanding of Dr. King is limited to his “I Have a Dream” speech. 
  • Time: There are several organizations that you can volunteer for. TFA has compiled a great list.
  • Finances: Investing in economic equity is important given that our history is full of stories like the Tulsa Massacre of Black Wall Street. Supporting Black-owned businesses and investing in Black start-ups or equity are great ways to fight for racial justice.  

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