With the goal of keeping Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s powerful legacy alive, Oracle Volunteers put their creative skills to use during MLK service week events from January 18 to 20. In collaboration with Oracle’s Alliance of Black Leaders for Excellence (ABLE) and Goodera—an organization that provides virtual volunteering solutions to companies globally—Oracle Volunteering was able to gather dozens of employees online for inventive and artistic volunteering projects. These activities, hosted via Zoom, gave volunteers the opportunity to produce educational resources for various nonprofits dedicated to bettering the quality of life for communities of color.
Here are three ways Oracle Volunteers honored Dr. King’s legacy:
The lessons drawn from King’s speeches and teachings remain timeless. To extend those lessons into future generations, Oracle Volunteers designed flash cards detailing MLK’s contributions throughout history for use among elementary and middle school students.
The cards were made for Boundless Brilliance, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that brings free STEM workshops to local elementary schools in order to close the gender gap and encourage diversity in STEM leadership. To promote an inclusive educational environment, the flash cards will be used to teach the Boundless Brilliance students about Black history.
Volunteers collaborated virtually to produce the flash cards, using online design and presentation tools. Cards splashed with bright colors and images of King were accompanied with bold fonts detailing milestones in King’s historic life, such as his career as a Baptist minister, his leadership during the Great March on Washington, and the impact of his essential “I Have a Dream” speech.
Quality, Training and Program Analyst Elizabeth Means included facts about King’s leadership in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and quotes from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech.
“The most meaningful part of this volunteering experience was being reminded of his great life and the wonderful resources and opportunities I have access to because of his and so many others’ sacrifices,” says Means.
With academic links on King’s historic accomplishments provided by Goodera, volunteers were able to create cards on an array of subjects, from King’s role in the civil rights movement to quotes from his sermons, essays, and interviews.
Final designs were submitted via Dropbox to add to Boundless Brilliance’s library of flash cards.
The power of even just one voice can make an impact. Each Oracle Volunteer put this idea to practice during an online audio recording session for Project DIVA International, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit dedicated to economically and emotionally guiding young Black girls into the sustainable lifestyles they envision for themselves.
For this event, Project DIVA International required audio recordings of stories about Black protagonists or written by Black authors to feature as positive role models for children in the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community. Oracle Volunteers literally raised their voices, recording biographical profiles of and lessons from historic figures, with a focus on women of color, such as Toni Morrison and Frida Kahlo. Scripts on each figure were provided by Goodera.
Senior Principal Technical Support Engineer Desiree Terrell made two recordings, one for choreographer and anthropologist Katherine Dunham and another for journalist and activist Claudia Jones.
“They both reminded me of things Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished and encouraged others to do for racial equality,” says Terrell. “This allowed me to allow Black girls to hear the stories from another Black woman, to show them support.”
To prepare for recording, the online session was abuzz with vocal exercises for Oracle Volunteers, including lip trills to loosen facial muscles for speaking and humming to warm up the vocal cords. With guidance from Goodera, volunteers also practiced speaking in different paces, tones, and volumes to build dramatic effect for their recordings. The session then let participants loose to select scripts and find a quiet place to record.
Recordings made with volunteers’ phones and computers were submitted to Project DIVA International via Dropbox.
The pandemic has proven to be a challenging and isolating time for all, especially the elder community. This motivated Oracle Volunteers to participate in letter writing for GRIOT Circle, a multigenerational organization in New York that serves LGBTQ+ elders of color. Since 1996, its mission has been to combat ageism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression.
During this online session, volunteers from Oracle marketing, business, and engineering put their writing skills to use as they penned messages of joy, acceptance, support, and empowerment to LGBTQ+ seniors of color.
Digital templates provided by Goodera featuring the Pride flag and rainbow color palettes provided Oracle Volunteers with a vibrant canvas on which to type their letters. Goodera also offered guidance to keep the tone positive and inclusive, sharing written examples, such as “You are a person with feelings, strength, and resilience” and “You are so much more and beyond stereotypes.”
Once the letters were completed, the messages were submitted via Dropbox to land in the hands of GRIOT Circle.
“MLK Day honors Dr. King’s legacy of service and encouraged us to find ways to serve our communities,” says Senior Manager Oracle Volunteering & Corporate Citizenship Teryll Hopper. “I am grateful to the Oracle Volunteers who came together to make a positive impact in the lives of youth and LGBTQ+ seniors of color during MLK week of service.”
Alex Chan is a writer for Oracle. She was previously a reporter for The Orange County Register and subsidiaries of the Los Angeles Times.