Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
“I’m convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives, and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr., from the speech “Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam” on April 30, 1967, Riverside Church, New York.
Forty Nine years have passed since these words have been spoken, and they still hold true today. Dr. King, I hope that I too can be on the right side of world revolution. I also seek a shift in the values of the society. I am building a company where all people are treated equitably, regardless of their role, from the suppliers all the way to the customers.
I do not worship the water filter that I am creating, rather I use it as a tool to alleviate people’s suffering. Making filters is not enough. The way that we make them matters. I will use the actual work of selling filters to foster connections between people and nations. The partnerships I will be forging to actually sell the filters will foster connections between people and nations. I believe strongly that those person-to-person connections foster a love between people that has the power to conquer racism, economic exploitation, and takes away the need for war.
“Hatred paralyzes life; Love releases it. Hatred confuses life; Love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; Love illuminates it.” -Martin Luther King, Jr.
Happy Martin Luther King Day, I am celebrating both the man and the day by thinking about inclusion and the value of all people. One of my goals with Triton Ceramics is to be inclusive and celebratory of all. I want a world that fairly treats people of all genders and embraces people of all ages. Why not create a company that does just that? Why not create a company that is composed of people of all races cultures and religions and treats those people equitably? I’m not limiting myself to theses issues, but they are at the forefront of my thinking right now. I want a company that celebrates the wonderful diversity in the world. Being 100% European-American and 100% male myself, I clearly need some help getting Triton Ceramics to meet those diverse goals.
I am committed to building a company that treats all people equitably. This means more than just treating people fairly. I am just now learning that there is a difference between treating people equally and treating people equitably. Equally means treating all people the same. I know that I can do better than treating all people exactly the same. I’m not sure what treating people equitably means yet, and I am very interested in exploring and learning further. So far it seems to mean that I will need to work and strive to bolster those who are not as privileged as I. I am striving to achieve harmony in the society. On that quest, I’m finding myself both excited and a bit scared. To properly address these issues, I will need to examine the fibre of who I am. I will need to dig deep and consider my own race, privilege, and the effect my participation in dominant society has on others. That feels hard and scary. I’m scared that I will not succeed in creating the more harmonious world that I am seeking. I’m afraid that the privileged white males, and others around me will not understand or appreciate what I am trying to do. If Dr. King was here he might say:
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Thanks for those uplifting words Dr. King.
When I’m feeling down, under the weight of these moral undertakings, I remind myself of the rewards. I’m excited about the chance to make an example of a company that treats all people equitably. I’m imagining an ethnically diverse company that empowers all of it’s employees. A Triton Ceramics that embodies those will undoubtedly have many doors opened to it around the world. That sure would make it a lot easier to sell filters. Those people will not only have language and cultural knowledge that would help, they will undoubtedly have diverse connections that will enable the work we are doing to spread.
Now I’m not feeling so down. Now I’m feeling empowered. The world is ours to do what we deem to be right. Building a company that treats its employees fairly feels right. Making water filters feel right.
I am committed to transparency. As a start, I have published a Mission Statement, Vision, and Values on the Triton Ceramics webpage. In the next few weeks and months I will also be establishing my path to achieve the noble goals set out in these three statements. I’ll be wrestling with how I will know if I’m meeting those goals. What good is talk if we cannot actually see if I am achieving the goals that I have set out to accomplish? I will need to develop ways of communicating whether or not we are meeting those goals to all of you, the supporters. Regular reports will be publicly posted on the webpage. Wish me luck!
Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., you are still with us. I promise to undertake this water filter work with painstaking excellence.
“Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means that we must develop a world perspective.” Martin Luther King, Jr.