February 21, 2014

“I Have a Dream” Still Deeply Tied to Empathy

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Video provided by The HistoryMakers

By Andrea Taylor, Director of U.S. Community Affairs, Microsoft Corporation

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom has become an iconic event in American history. I was there as a student on August 28, 1963, to march along with more than 200,000 others seeking equality and justice. As life’s journey continues, I was fortunate to be a guest on Capitol Hill for last summer’s 50th anniversary Congressional Commemoration of this turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.

Congressman John Lewis was there too and spoke eloquently about the dream, the dreamer and the societal challenges and opportunities in the 21st century. As the only living person from among distinguished dais speakers on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that historic day, his words had great power then and now.

As another Black History Month is celebrated in our nation, it’s a time for personal reflection about these events. When asked “How do I feel about that day 50 years later?” by the producers of HistoryMakers, I reflected on what I remember from that day.

Of course, I was deeply moved by Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and it’s ironic that City Year’s mission and model is so closely aligned with his vision of opportunity for every child. That message still resonates more than five decades later and is also tied to City Year’s value of the month, empathy.

Empathy, is linked to leadership and effective interaction with different cultures and communities. In many ways any individual or group committed to making a difference in the lives of others must possess empathy. When present, this characteristic can be an important influence for leaders from every sphere including education, government, human rights and philanthropy, who seek to inspire and empower individuals and communities to be the best they can be.

This is what Microsoft’s YouthSpark partnership with City Year is all about as we seek to expand education, employment and entrepreneurship among today’s youth. What a privilege to be a steward of resources that serve this purpose.

Andrea Taylor - Photo Credit: The HistoryMakers

Andrea Taylor – Photo Credit: The HistoryMakers

Andrea Taylor is the director of U.S. Community Affairs at Microsoft Corporation. To learn more, read Andrea’s full HistoryMaker’s biography.

Favorites
Color: Black
Food: Peanut butter
Quote: ”Get started.”
Season: Winter
Vacation Destination: Martha’s Vineyard
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts

Thanks to The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American Video Oral History Collection, for permission to broadcast a segment of the January 13, 2014, interview with Andrea L. Taylor.

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