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Impact Networking Reflects on “Remembering Harold Washington Centennial Celebration”

Impact Networking Reflects on “Remembering Harold Washington Centennial Celebration”

On April 20, 2022, Impact Networking’s Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Brandon Baker attended the “Remembering Harold Washington Centennial Celebration”, which was organized by the Harold Washington Committee and Harold Washington College to celebrate the late mayor’s 100th birthday and legacy. More than three decades after his death, the impact of Harold Washington’s work as an Illinois politician and Chicago’s first Black mayor is still felt today.

Mayor Washington embodied the mindset of building a government “of the people, by the people and for the people” (Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address.” 1863). He took pride in and initiative with being engaged within the communities of Chicago, especially the youth. Many of the speakers at the event viewed Mayor Washington as an uncle or close family member. Washington was a strong advocate for diversity and change. During the relocation of Harold Washington College, then Loop College, Washington stated, “It is from the diversity of city life and the variety of cultures and backgrounds…that we find the common threads that bring us together to form a college community.”

Harold Washington College is a cornerstone of Chicago with one of the richest histories within the city limits. Impact is a proud partner of Harold Washington College and City Colleges of Chicago. “This celebration was a great opportunity to learn more about the history of the school and its campus, as well as to interact with the student body,” said Brandon. “As we expand our reach into the city of Chicago and become more involved in the community, it’s a priority for us as a partner to show representation and support during these historical events.”

Engagement and involvement are two key factors of diversity and inclusion. Engagement is what you do within your community, how you engage and promote the course of change. Involvement, on the other hand, is what you do for your community, how you take independent actions to invoke change. Mayor Washington was the embodiment of engagement and involvement. He fought to transform the old way of politics and introduce new ideas of justice, reform, and transparency in government for all of Chicago. He paved a path forward for all underrepresented groups. He was a pillar of the community and a role model for most. “Mayor Washington boldly challenged the status quo and courageously demanded equity and justice for communities that had been underserved for generations,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in an interview with CBS news.

Impact is working hard to expand opportunities for growth as far and wide as possible, to build a more inclusive and diverse future for our employees and the communities where we work and live. Starting in 2022, Impact offers an IT internship and service-desk apprenticeship programs in collaboration with Harold Washington College. Programs like these are meant to give aspiring students at Harold Washington College real-world experience in the IT field, as well as help them transition into a full-time position with Impact.

It takes ongoing initiatives and partnerships like these to make a lasting difference, to pave the path forward. “Each of us has the power to create and sustain a culture of equality where everyone feels welcomed and respected, where everyone can advance and thrive,” said Brandon. “Creating a better future for the next generations starts now with us.”

 

To learn more about Impact’s D&I initiatives, visit https://www.impactmybiz.com/diversity-and-inclusion-in-tech/.