I believe that the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is grounded by a single dream and promise he sought hard to help Americans achieve. The dream is of civil justice and equality for all. Today, we can all honor this legacy by keeping his dream alive. More than 50 years since he spoke of this dream, we are carrying it forward within the walls of PSEG, as a journey of inclusion.
My earliest experience with Dr. King is elusive at best. It was early 1968 and I was just about 10 years old. Both my late sister Doris and mother Edna were off to Boston Common, the central park of downtown Boston where I grew up, to hear him speak. However, the contentious atmosphere that could have possibly arose from discussions around social issues of that time, was enough for my mother to decide to send me off to the movies instead.
In retrospect, this was a missed opportunity to meet the man whom I would get to know through his speeches and other historical anecdotes and who would become my role model. I often wish that I had the chance to experience the magnitude of emotions my mother and sister must have felt in hearing him speak. But still, Dr. King and his dream continues to inspire me today.
I’m moved by his selfless act to always do what was needed for the betterment of others; even as he paid the ultimate price with his life. It’s an extraordinary display of heroism that encourages me to stand for what is right when faced with any challenge and has driven me to help make a difference at PSEG.
A proud example of this is the effort I took to help launch the company’s Enabling Abilities employee business resource group (EBRG). Since its inception in 2014, it serves as a resource for people living with disabilities and their caregivers – bringing greater awareness and understanding to their needs. We’ve had employee events where we welcomed Eric LeGrand, a former Rutgers University football defensive tackle who was paralyzed during a game, to share his inspirational story and help others recognize that a disability does not inhibit or define an individual.
As the mother of son who has a mental disability and will be entering the workforce soon, this is an important message to convey. I want to help forge a path where everyone – regardless of ability or disability – feels valued and respected. My work with the Enabling Abilities EBRG is my way of doing that.
I am proud that I work for a company that champions inclusion and understands that to sustain organizational excellence, the differences of our employees, customer base, and the communities we serve, must be valued and respected. These are values conveyed in PSEG’s Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement and defined by the attitude, beliefs and behaviors we want employees to demonstrate each and every day. It’s also demonstrated through company efforts such as the PSEG 100, a project that identified and recognized 100 diverse employees, whose individual stories collectively help portray the unique role we play as a company in providing safe and reliable service to customers.
This steadfast belief in the power of an inclusive culture has grounded the work of more than a dozen EBRGs within PSEG, our chief diversity officer, our Diversity and Inclusion Council, employee volunteers and so many others.
I’ve embraced this journey knowing that the work that I and so many others have started must carry on today, tomorrow and well into the future.
So, on this day, I say, Happy Birthday Dr. King! Your dream continues.
Robin Hall, Senior Staff Accountant-PSEG