Walk first, then talk: A tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was especially meaningful, and seemed to be more celebrated than I can ever remember.  Then 22 year old poet Amanda Gorman rocked the world with her poem “The Hill We Climb” for the Inauguration.  Just wow!

Social media was full of quotes from Dr. King and comments urging people to not just post Dr. King quotes, but to go out there and make a difference. That got me thinking about a saying my Dad has quoted to me all my life: “He who tooteth his own horn hath nothing to toot.” That is another way to say “All Hat and No Cattle” or “All Talk and No Walk.”

Lutheran Services Carolinas posted Dr. King quotes and celebrations on social media. Dr. King Day, Ms. Gorman, and tooting the horn made me consider whether LSC is all talk. We try to walk the walk first, then talk. Let’s explore that.

LSC is led by one of the most diverse, high functioning Boards of Directors in nonprofit health and human services. While other boards may be quite homogeneous, LSC’s board is evenly split women to men, and more diverse than the population of both Carolinas! That only happens because of a concerted effort by LSC to be a diverse organization.

With that leadership, LSC has embarked on a lifetime of work regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Please let me share just a few examples:

  • 1979, LSC began resettling refugees from every corner of the world. Working with such a diverse clientele which also entails hiring a diverse workforce has influenced the entire organization.
  • 2001, LSC acquired a nursing home in a very diverse low income area of Winston-Salem (100% Medicaid, majority African American residents). Subsequently, LSC built a new replacement nursing home in the heart of that same community.
  • 2003, LSC staff helped found the NC Lutheran Synod’s African Descent Strategy Team, and has been actively involved since.
  • 2011, LSC began acquiring ownership in now four PACE programs in North Carolina. PACE (Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) serves indigent seniors, and a diverse population.
  • 2018, LSC founded the LSC Diversity Council.  As an employer of almost 2,000 teammates, LSC employs a diverse workforce and created its Diversity Council open to every teammate to advance diversity, equity, inclusion issues across the organization.

LSC will continue to walk first, then talk, as the ultimate tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.