By Monica Council-Miles, Manager of BD Social Investing
From a very young age, my father – one of the first Black police officer and first Black detective in my hometown of Paterson, N.J. – instilled in me the importance of education, equality, and giving back to my community. My father also had the great honor of serving as security detail for Dr. King in 1968 during his last visit to Paterson. One week later, Dr. King was killed in Memphis, Tenn. That brief but personal connection to the famed civil rights leader has always inspired me to find meaningful ways to honor Dr. King and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
For the last several years, teams of volunteers from BD sites across the country celebrated this day of service by packing shelf-stable meals for hungry communities, with help of our non-profit partner, Rise Against Hunger. In January 2020, we were proud to have reached our ambitious goal of packing our one millionth meal, together.
2021 forced us to think differently about how we can come together as a community. I was thrilled to work in partnership with the African Americans at BD (AABD) associate resource group to honor the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in a new, virtual way.
We asked our employees around the world to consider opting-in to a 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge* -- which meant committing to spend 5-15 minutes reviewing articles, educational videos or podcasts related to racial equity and social justice issues, for 21 days. The idea was that it takes 21 days to make a real change in habits – so we saw this challenge as an opportunity for associates to begin what we hope will be a lifetime of learning about racial inequities in areas including criminal justice reform, education, healthcare and civic engagement.
To honor each participant, BD committed to donate $10 to non-profit organizations selected in partnership with the African Americans at BD (AABD) associate resource group. We are proud to share that with the support of the nearly 6,000 employees around the world who participated, BD will donate a total of $60,000 to Americares, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Equal Justice Initiative, and the United Negro College Fund.
We are deeply grateful to every BD employee who took the time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in this challenge. By expanding our collective awareness of racial inequity and social justice issues, we are building a better, more just and inclusive workplace, community and world.
As we concluded this challenge on February 16, I’d like to think that my dad would agree with me when I say, I can think of few better ways to honor Black History Month.
*We’d like to thank the YWCA of Northern New Jersey, one of our non-profit partners that’s dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women, for generously giving BD permission to repurpose content that they curated for a similar educational effort, launched late last year. In gratitude, BD is donating $5,000 to the YWCA