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Phillips 66 draws from MLK’s words to inspire action

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words serve as the inspiration for this year's commemorations of his legacy at Phillips 66. The company's Employee Resource Groups are jointly organizing local food drives for communities in need to honor King's lasting impact as an advocate for society's most vulnerable populations

"In 2020, we were able to give back in ways big and small, and we hope you join us as we kick off, in Dr. King’s honor, our 2021 efforts to provide energy and improve lives," Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO Greg Garland wrote in an email to employees.

The first Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed in 1986, and in 1994 it was designated by Congress as a national day of service to honor King’s vision of unifying communities.

Here are some of the many ways Phillips 66 employees will mark the day, in their own words.

Evan Rodgers, Procurement Category Specialist, Houston
I typically spend MLK Day volunteering with the Phillips 66 Black Employee Network, but I also reflect on his speeches and essays. King's crusade for economic and racial justice was not popular during his time, but he stayed true to his morals. In today's unsettling climate, works like A Letter from Birmingham JailRemaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, and his final sermon, I've Been to the Mountaintop, can provide guidance. They remind us that while this country has made progress, there is still more work to be done, and everyone has a role to play.

Krystal Braden, Lubricants Lead of Strategic Accounts, Houston
I choose to celebrate Dr. King on this day annually by participating in organized service projects that have ranged from providing health care services to senior citizens and children to giving warm clothing and other basic necessities to the homeless. This year I am excited to be able to volunteer with members of the Black Employee Network to sort and pack food to be distributed to people in need throughout Houston.

Monica Collins, Refining Distillate Blender and Scheduler, Lake Charles
Keeping the meaning of the day with me — as a day of service — this year, I plan to help bag groceries at the Water’s Edge Food Pantry for those in the Lake Charles community. After the year we have experienced in Southwest Louisiana, Martin Luther King Day is even more important because there are so many in need. As we begin yet another year with hope in our hearts for meaningful connections and measurable change, I leave you with the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”

Dale Lemon, Shift Supervisor, Sweeny
My parents instilled in myself and my siblings a sense of honor and respect for history. Celebrating MLK was a part of that. He was a man of faith and was a fearless ambassador for all humankind, especially those who were marginalized and mistreated. In the past, I’ve celebrated MLK Day by attending parades and banquets, volunteering and participating in community programs. This year, I plan to participate in programs that will be held virtually due to COVID restrictions. To me, MLK Day is a time to connect with others who celebrate unity and strive to uplift and empower children, families and communities.

Paul Griffith, Shift Superintendent, Rodeo
I honor Dr. King and his vision by volunteering to help and mentor foster youth, volunteering to teach English through my local library literacy program and volunteering through outreach to help the less fortunate. I celebrate the day by giving thanks for all those who sacrificed and paved the way, and with food and fellowship with my family. A fond memory I have of those gatherings: The tapestry in my house and many other black households of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.