Your Inside Connections

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As we prepare to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life and legacy and reflect on the challenges of the past year, it seems like a good time to offer some thoughts.

At the top of my list is the re-affirmation that our nation has much more work to do to achieve Dr. King's vision of justice, civil rights and equality for all. As human beings we all share the same desire for security, happiness, well-being, acceptance and opportunity. Yet inequality and discrimination persist because some view life as a zero-sum game — for one person to win, someone else must lose. It doesn't have to be that way and it shouldn't. As a society and as individuals, we will all do better and enjoy more success when equality and justice underpin every corner of society.

MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. For those motivated on Monday to give back to their community, I encourage you to give some thought to what might best support achieving Dr. King's goal of equal justice and opportunity. As a company, I have asked that all aspects of our philanthropy and community engagement be directed toward helping close the digital divide. Why? In today's world, it's hard to see how we can achieve equality in education, economic opportunity or access to healthcare without everyone having the ability to access the internet. This is where we are focusing our resources, and I believe we can make a meaningful impact.

Since my last note on issues of justice and equality, we have been active on many fronts. There are initiatives we are addressing within the four walls of AT&T and there are broader societal issues that are every bit as important, and often more challenging. Economic empowerment is certainly one of those broader issues and, given that, I'd like to share this new 7-minute video with you outlining some of our efforts over the past year.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out that while we are celebrating Dr. King, we will also witness history being made next week as Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris is sworn in as our nation's first woman and woman of color to serve in that role. Dr. King's untiring, peaceful pursuit of equality set the stage for this moment — a milestone that has been a very long time coming. For this and other reasons, I am sure Wednesday's Presidential inauguration will have a different feel. I end this note where I started. No matter your politics, our path through life shouldn't be viewed as a zero-sum game. Following a year like no other, the challenges we face as a nation are more significant and numerous than at any time in recent history. We can do more together than apart, and I hope this realization catalyzes the unity necessary to achieve the hope of a better tomorrow.

As Dr. King once said: "We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right."

The time and moment are most certainly ripe. Let us strive to do right.

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