Tick tock…tick tock… time has turned into years and years have unfolded improvements that Martin Luther King was greatly responsible for in the mid-1960s. The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act for African Americans changed the laws in America so there would be repercussions for discrimination of race or color. So now we have a kinder and more equal social justice in the United States. Ummmm…I don’t think so!!! The EEOC reported that there were over 31,000 charges of racial discrimination reported in 2015. Senator John Lewis (D-GA) spoke out recently and tweeted, “We must never, ever give up the right to protest for what is right, what is good, and what is necessary.” If we choose to strive for justice and a kinder world, I have five tips that honor the “great work” of Martin Luther King.
First, be a “light” and don’t meet evil or darkness on its level. Fighting with people who are bullies or are acting badly will only bring your own spirit and your energy down. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” said Martin Luther King. He strived for peace in non-violent ways. Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. Martin Luther King and his followers began to boycott the Montgomery bus public transit system in Alabama. It was a huge success because most of the bus riders were African American and the boycott created an enormous financial deficit for the company. Consider how you can make a non-violent action to stand up to injustice. For example, I speak, write, mentor, and I am a 27-year HR expert on workplace bullying and discrimination. I do this in a compelling manner, but the tone of my actions is non-violent.
Second, learn as much as you can about discrimination so you can become more empowered and educated. Unfortunately, workplace bullying is not illegal, but discrimination is illegal. With the exception that “retaliation” for reporting discrimination is illegal if a person has initiated discrimination charges to an agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. While the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) has lost power over the years, today we have organized groups who have the ability to enforce civility in the workplace, but not enough is being done to fix hostile work environments. Why not foster your skills and learn more about your rights to a safe and non-hostile work environment in my blog articles on my website.
Third, if you are enduring harmful behavior from others or you need help to speak your “truth,” why not find a mentor, spiritual leader or a life coach to support you. I wrote an article, “Five Tips Before You Hire a Life Coach” to share guidance in finding ethical and competent Life Coaches.
Fourth, consider seeking legal counsel if you have questions about discrimination because of your race, color, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, national origin, you are over 40 years old, gender identity, disabilities, genetic information or religion. For about $20.00 a month, you can seek a lawyer’s advice at Legal Shield. That is less than the cost of going out to dinner for most people. An HR professional with expertise in workplace bullying and discrimination may become an essential expert to help you. When an employee understands their “rights,” they can pursue justice or a fair outcome. An experienced HR consultant could possibly save you a lot of money by avoiding costly legal fees. Don’t get me wrong—employment attorneys can be powerful allies, but they will most likely charge more in fees. I am suggesting that you do seek an attorney if you feel compelled to do so, but why not let an HR consultant support you at a lower cost? Then you can reach out to an employee attorney later on if needed.
Fifth, be an advocate for social justice and fair treatment of others. For example, a friend of mine recently saw a Caucasian man castigating an African American woman after she walked out of a grocery store. He yelled derogatory comments at this lady accusing her of being lazy and that she should not be a drain on society. Perhaps this woman needed to be on food stamps to support her family. My friend saw the need to intervene and acted like she knew this woman. This discouraged the angry man who walked away to his vehicle. Thanks to my friend, this woman was able to get to her car with her children, with only tears running down her face. There is no telling what could have happened if there had been no intervention to help this lady get to her car with the assurance that someone cared about her.
There are many ways to honor the late Martin Luther King. We can all be “extensions” of his advocacy to end discrimination and make this a better world. Think of ways that you can help positively eliminate injustice and take action. Follow me on Facebook where I share tips to stand up to workplace bullying and discrimination to executive teams, global leaders, political teams, government leaders, attorneys, mental health professionals, and employees.