Michael Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 (Keep reading and learn something new if your think that is a typo). And, while the world celebrates MLK day, most do not know that he was born with a different name nor why it was changed. Five years after his son’s birth, Michael Luther King, Sr., a respected church leader in his own right, traveled to Germany to attend the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) in 1934. While in pre-World War II Germany, he visited sites associated with Martin Luther, a reformation leader and witnessed the surge of Nazism. The elder King participated in the BWA conference’s resolution condemning rising antisemitism. Based on the senior King’s deepened admiration for the power of Luther’s protest, he returned to the United States and transitioned to the name Martin Luther for both he and his young son. However, it was not until 1957, long after he became prominent, that Martin Luther King Jr. legally changed his first name. The very upbringing that Martin Luther King was raised in was about bringing equality of all people. This means something very important to me.
As an employment discrimination law firm, we have and continue to work as hard as we can to fight for the equality of rights of all people. All people cannot be equal until we root racism out of workplaces. Unfortunately, in this country, there are still horribly awful acts that continue to this day. (See Can I Sue If My Boss Calls Black Workers “Monkeys” And “Slaves”? I Need A Race Discrimination Lawyer?; Top Race Discrimination Lawyer Rely: My Boss Called Me A “N*gger” and “Porch Monkey.” What Should I Do?). And, I have already drafted another race discrimination blog that should be landing this week with more vile prejudice and racism from another set of bosses, supervisors and managers. It does not stop. But neither will we. We cannot.
Discrimination on a job strips men and women of their self-respect, their hope, and their purpose. Our race discrimination attorneys fight, not just for the money, but to restore the dignity stolen from them and, equally important, to affect a positive change moving forward. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly” wrote King in his April 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Every case of race discrimination we fight hopefully prevents several more Black employees from ever being wrongfully terminated, passed over for a promotion, paid less than White coworkers, or harassed just because of the color of their skin.
We recognize that our attorneys only have the ability and privilege to fight for racial equality because brave men and women have come to us and said, “enough.” Faced with unemployment, humiliation of racial harassment, and the struggle to support a family after being unjustly fired, our clients realize that stand for not just themselves, but all those who follow. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” wrote King in his 1963 book, Strength to Love.
Unlike other law firms, who only take race discrimination cases if the fired or harassed African employee is making enough to justify the profit from taking the case, our attorneys do not care if you were making six figures or minimum wage. We will fight just as hard for you. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” King also wrote in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
Let me end with one of my favorite MLK quotes:
“What I’m saying to you this morning, my friends, even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.’”
That is our goal everyday as attorneys in this ongoing battle – to fight harder, smarter, and better than all those that would defend a racist boss, manager, or owner of a company. Hopefully, together we can sweep this prejudice from our jobs, our lives and the world.
Thank you, Dr. King.