On January 20, 2020, the United States honored the incredible life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His enduring memory inspires us to strive for a more just and equal society. Learn more in the Presidential Proclamation.
The Office of Economic Impact and Diversity (ED) hosted a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy at the Department of Energy (DOE) headquarters in Washington, D.C. on January 22. Trina Bilal, Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact, opened the event. The Director of ED, the Honorable James E. Campos, welcomed attendees and emphasized DOE’s commitment to a just and equitable workplace. Lettie Wormley, Secretary of the Blacks In Government (BIG) - DOE chapter, shared the history of the chapter and encouraged attendees to join.
Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, emphasized the importance of Dr. King’s legacy and explained, “we seek to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy with a call to every American to serve those in need.” In the 1600s, John Winthrop of Massachusetts declared that “we shall be a city upon the hill; the eyes of all people are upon us.” Dr. King called on the United States to live up to that promise; to embrace a new altruism based on agape - on all-encompassing love for humanity, and service to others.
In his keynote, Dean Nelson, Chairman of the Douglas Leadership Foundation, encouraged attendees to reflect on the progress made and to continue to work toward a more just and equal society. Mr. Nelson highlighted the story of Ship’s Cook 3rd Class Doris Miller who became the first African-American to be awarded the Navy Cross for his exceptional bravery during the attack on Pearl Harbor. On January 20, the U.S. Navy announced plans to name an aircraft in honor of him. It will be the first aircraft carrier ever named for an African-American. Mr. Nelson encouraged us all to embrace the call to serve, whether it be through your current job, or in your community.
Attendees were treated to a variety of artistic performances. John Thomas, Program Policy Analyst with the Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence performed a powerful recitation of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Daniel Hill, Budget Analyst with the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which was originally written as a poem by African-American poet and civil rights activist, James Weldon Johnson, to celebrate President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and the song has become a powerful cry for liberation and affirmation for African-American people. Deputy Director for the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity Patricia Zarate provided closing remarks.
Thank you to Secretary Brouillette, Director Campos, Mr. Nelson, and Ms. Wormley for sharing your time, experience and wisdom. An additional thank you to and Collette Bankins, on detail to ED, for organizing the event.
“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.’ "