At the National Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Junior Awards Gala, Myron Gray, President, U.S. Operations accepted the Charles Collins Distinguished Trustee award for his service and mentorship and spoke about the cumulative impact of working through others.
My thanks to the National Urban League, the UPS Foundation and to all who have made this evening possible. I am deeply honored to receive this award.
Charles Collins’ service and commitment to the work and ideals of the National Urban League were instrumental in making the organization the powerful agent for change it is today.
And there’s a story on the NUL website that illustrates exactly what that power can do.
It’s about a young man in Los Angeles named Justin. He lost his job as a maintenance worker, and immediately began looking for another one. But without the right credentials and work history, he wasn’t having much luck finding it.
Although he was willing to take whatever job he could get, what he really wanted to be was a carpenter’s apprentice.
So, Justin enrolled in a program at the National Urban League and started working his way toward his dream job.
While he was waiting to get into the carpenter’s union, he got a seasonal job at UPS as a driver/helper. These are men and women who help our fulltime drivers make their deliveries during the holiday season.
Eventually, Justin got into the carpentry union, and today, he’s a carpenter apprentice.
I like to think that, working together, NUL and UPS helped Justin on two fronts – getting him where he wanted to be and helping him support himself on the way there.
Years ago, UPS’s founder Jim Casey said, “Each of us must work through others to accomplish some of the results we are personally responsible for.”
And today’s challenges are more urgent and too critical for anyone to solve alone.
I consider it my personal responsibility to do all I can to help the National Urban League continue doing all it can, which is considerable.
But like Jim Casey said, we get results only by working through others.
Others like my fellow National Urban League Board Members, who help guide and support NUL, both professionally and financially.
Like the executives, corporations, government and non-government organizations that fulfill our mission of inspiring achievements, as we say: “Beyond the possible.”
Like every one of you here tonight – volunteers, staff, donors and friends – who give so unselfishly of your time, talent and treasure to ensure NUL is there to change the lives of as many Justins as possible.
I’ll also proudly include UPS in this group. Through the UPS Foundation, our company has provided $22 million in funding, and more opportunities than I can count in the 55 years we’ve been working together.
But, if ever there were a time when we need to work with and through each other, it’s now.
Right now, when countries all over the world are closing their borders, turning allies into adversaries overnight.
Right now, when we’re dealing with the highest level of economic inequality this country has ever known.
Right now, when the rhetoric of racism threatens to take us back to a time and a country we hoped never to see again.
If you’re in this room tonight, you believe we can overcome these challenges.
You have made yourself personally responsible to do what it takes to see to it that we don’t take a step back in time.
You are the people who I am honored and humbled to work with, and for, and through.
I’m confident that working together, we can get the job done.
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