Every January we have the opportunity to reflect on one of the nation’s most historic leaders, a pioneer who boldly fought for racial equality and ending racial segregation. On January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we honor Dr. King’s commitment to change, inclusion and transformation, and recognize how even 54 years after his death, we continue to march on toward his dream of empowerment and inclusion.
Dr. King believed financial institutions played an important role in achieving true equality in America, by increasing opportunity and access to all. At Hancock Whitney, we take that role to heart, striving to champion economic inclusion by building trust across social, cultural, racial, generational, regional, religious and economic differences.
Diversity, equity and inclusion work is so much bigger than any one person, one group or one company. It’s about all of humanity stepping into the light together and rising above the misconceptions and misunderstandings that divide us and stifle dreams.
To us, diversity, equity and inclusion is about pulling up more chairs to the table, even adding a leaf or two to lengthen the table with the goal to expand perspectives, experiences, and beliefs to achieve full inclusion.
As a Black woman and mother, I find myself wanting to do more—not only in the spirit of Dr. King, but also because I recognize how far we still have to go as a country to truly achieve his dream. I want the world to be different, more inclusive when my son and daughter are my age. I want Dr. King’s dream to be their reality and the issues of social injustice and inequality to be nonexistent. Where their talents and merits are all that’s measured. King’s speech The Other America embodies the America I dream for my children, for all children. "That will be a great day, that will be a great tomorrow. In the words of the scripture, to speak symbolically, that will be the day when the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy."
We can begin carving a path to this tomorrow by having courageous conversations that get to the heart of what we share in common, without dismissing those things on which we disagree. In the spirit of Dr. King’s teachings, I encourage you to give yourself permission to stay engaged and curious, speak the truth, listen for understanding, and be responsible to each other and this journey. Don’t be afraid to embrace your truth and speak up and out about the injustices that you may come across. Your voice has the power to carry on Dr. King’s vision.
Here at Hancock Whitney, we remain committed to working toward inclusivity in the workplace and community. As the director of diversity, equity and inclusion, I feel a sense of pride in the progress made to foster a culture that values diversity, promotes equity, and fosters both inclusion and belonging to achieve our mission. We will continue to march on to achieve the dream, King’s dream -- for all.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are fundamental to the spirit of Hancock Whitney’s purpose. To find out more, visit https://www.hancockwhitney.com/diversity-equity-and-inclusion