On Jan. 18, 2016 several thousand spectators braved the cold for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. Temperatures stayed below freezing all day, but that didn’t stop a record number of parade participants from honoring the legacy of one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders.
More than two dozen BCBSOK employees marched in the parade, followed by BCBSOK’s Mobile Assistance Center (MAC). Employees bundled up in sweatshirts bearing Martin Luther King, Jr.’s portrait, along with the 2016 parade theme, “One Race: The Human Race.”
While employees marched along the parade route in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District, they handed out promotional items, held signs reminding spectators about the impending Open Enrollment Period deadline, and carried a BCBSOK banner. After the parade, participants signed the special banner, which now hangs in BCBSOK’s customer service center in Tulsa.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Society of Tulsa organizes the event each year. The parade, one of the largest in the United States, draws a whopping number of spectators annually and is also broadcast on television by a local news network. Dozens of companies, churches, school marching bands and community organizations were represented in the 2016 march.
BCBSOK has participated in the parade for the past several years, thanks to our African Americans In Motion (AAIM) Business Resource Group, Tulsa Chapter, which coordinated the great employee involvement in the parade. Many AAIM members marched in the parade, along with BCBSOK President Ted Haynes, AAIM President Mica Harding, AAIM Vice President Mike Nelson and AAIM Executive Sponsor Nicole Amend. Through our business groups, we are able to engage with our community in a way that goes beyond donations and grants--we get to physically be present in our community.
BCBSOK’s Business Resource Groups (BRGs) provide employees with opportunities that aid in their professional growth and contribute to business objectives. Membership in BRGs is open to all employees.
“Our Business Resource Groups are a wonderful way for us to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace,” said BCBSOK President Ted Haynes. “I have been honored to march in the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. parade with members of our African Americans In Motion BRG for the past few years. I’m proud to see the work that they are doing in the community.”
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