So many organisations have bold strategies that fail to translate into simple actions at the coal face. A visit to the Martin Luther King Centre in Atlanta showed that this is not always the case. I saw a brilliant example of how the King Centre lives by the values that Martin Luther King died for.
Any baby boomer will know the stories of how Martin Luther King led the fight for racial equality in America. The segregation, oppression, exploitation and at times, brutal violence experienced by those descended from southern state slaves is by today’s values beyond belief.
Part of my visit to the King Centre included a guided tour of the house in which King was born and raised. Before taking us in, the guide warned us not to touch the valuable artefacts on display. He then took us from room to room, telling stories about the family that helped us make sense of what we were seeing.
But what made the visit so memorable was that Doug Coyle, the guide that afternoon, was blind, using a long cane to navigate the building. To do his job, he had to trust his group to do as he asked, because he had no way of checking that we had not wandered off, taken photos or pocketed mementoes. His storytelling was first class, yet many I suspect would not have trusted him to guide visitors through a living museum. It was a great illustration that equality of opportunity extends way beyond gender, race and age.
We must never take equality of opportunity for granted, nor should we assume that we are getting it right. There will always be people like Doug to remind us that we could perhaps be doing more.