Ken Wiseman, AMS’ Chief Workforce Development Officer, offered some inspiring words on the mural installation “This ‘Wall of Justice Mural’ memorializes and reflects our pledge towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity. Pause to look at it now and again, as its images and words represent the best of AMS moving forward.”
Across the US, January 18th was designated as the day in which we honor the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was 35 years ago, in 1986, that the first federal holiday honoring Dr. King was held, designated as the first Monday in January. On the MLK holiday, many Americans evaluate the progress we have made as a culture and as a system with regard to racism and discrimination.
At AMS, on MLK Day, employees gained approval to install a very special mural on the wall of the “Advance My Skills” learning center. The learning center was created and equipped several years ago for use in offering free college and trade school classes to all AMS employees, and is a space that employees consider their own.
The AMS Leadership Team made the following announcement: “In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, we are pleased to announce the approval of the “Wall of Justice” mural, which will be put up in the Advanced Learning Center. We hope this mural helps all of us recall the commitment we have made towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity.”
The commitment referred to is one made following the AMS March for Change, organized by AMS employees in response to the killing of George Floyd in early June. Following that shocking and painful event, there was a strong desire within the AMS family to do something to bring about change; to bring an end to the racism and race-based prejudice and discrimination so damaging to us all. In a speech to the marchers, Ken Wiseman, AMS’ former CEO and current Chief Workforce Development Officer, spoke about working harder, with a stronger commitment to create opportunities and shed our biases, both conscious and unconscious.
When employees returned to their work locations after the march, they had the commitment of AMS ownership, the executive team and everyone in attendance to achieve even greater diversity goals. Three months later a second meeting with employees was held in which Ken spoke about the ambitious initiatives that AMS has undertaken in order to keep the promises, including: an ongoing Diversity & Inclusion Breakfast, increased learning opportunities, role-playing with employees to confront bias, an up-skill matrix development program, registering career objectives, 90 minute lunch meetings, ‘Share Our Journey’ opportunities, and an Empathy, Respect, Trigger and Action plan.
The Wall of Justice mural contains images of marchers and the following quotes from the signs carried at the March for Change:
- Some knew the value of education by having it. I knew it’s value by not having it. – Frederick Douglass
- It is never too late to give up your prejudices. – Henry David Thoreau
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- There was one of two things I had a right to: liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other, for no man should take me alive. – Harriet Tubman
- Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. – Mahatma Bandhi
- Men build too many walls and not enough bridges. – Joseph Fort Newton
- Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong. – Muhammad Ali
- If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness. – Victor Hugo
- Harmony creates equality. -Jon Luvelli