#MLKDay Series 2021: Destiny Fordham

Jan 19, 2021

Destiny Fordham
Senior Associate, Diversity & Inclusion
CEO Cincinnati

As we celebrate the life and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, we asked a few of our staff and participant colleagues to share some reflections. What emerged are powerful statements touching on the unfinished work of racial and social justice, the importance of CEO’s mission and enduring legacy of Dr. King’s example.

As a young girl I often reflected on what Martin Luther King’s contributions were to our world in awe. I was always so intrigued by his influence and the work he did within the community to organize and stand against racism. His ability to persist and be a leader on racial justice at such a pivotal time still evokes emotion in me today. I saw him as a super man with a superpower.

Today, I reflected on his final speech, “I've Been to the Mountaintop'' and wondered how afraid he must have been to know that it was time for him to leave his community. I reflected on “I Have a Dream'' and thought about the fact that we live in a world that has dismantled segregation in some ways, but is still battling these realities in others. I reflected on his “Letter from Birmingham Jail '' and his willingness to still press on despite his circumstances and mounting criticism, even from those who should have supported him. Some at the time believed his fight was in vain. There were many of us who agreed to disagree. Dr. King did not march or organize alone. It was the work of many individuals who were able to come together and make sure that supplies, communication and action plans were delivered on time to cities and organizers all across the world that made the fight for civil rights possible.

As an adult, it is not who Martin Luther King was that I am in awe of, but the work of the many individuals who helped uplift his voice. Because of this I recognize that our work here at CEO is important because it is familiar. It is the work of generations. Everyday we work to fight injustice in our own way while defying the gravity of a system that tries to oppress us. We celebrate in victory when one of our own breaks a barrier, finds a job, creates a new process or gains a better understanding. My hope is always that we continue to remember that the work is incomplete. My hope is that with better understanding comes better opportunity. I hope that we continue to thrive in this impassioned space so that our communities can see that the work we do at CEO is too valuable to ignore; and the work of anti-racism in our communities is non-negotiable. Dr King was not a super man with a superpower, he was just a man who refused to be silenced.