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Thoughts from Colleen Richards Powell, Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

What does Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day) mean to you?

To me, this holiday represents an opportunity to pause and reflect on Dr. King’s legacy as a transcendent leader who provided a moral compass at a time of violence, social and economic injustice and confusion. Dr. King knew the journey would be long and wanted us to persevere in the face of issues that were challenging and would define our humanity for generations to come.

I am heartened by the growing number of voices in all communities who are unwilling to stay silent in the face of injustice, and the growing understanding that diverse and equitable and inclusive environments are more productive and sustainable. Within the corporate arena, I think it is critical that we increase our individual and collective commitment to these efforts and reinvest where needed to create real and lasting impact. For global companies like ours, we recognize that Dr. King’s legacy knows no national boundaries and is relevant to the fight against inequity around the globe.

One of the ways that our company is making a difference in these trying times is to support wireless connectivity and address the persistent digital divide at home and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity, and we continue to support that connectivity through our global business operations, as well as through our Digital Communities program. The program aims to improve the quality of life through connectivity, with a focus on community education, career development, healthcare access and financial inclusion.

Is there a quote from Dr. King that particularly resonates with you?

As I think about the difficulties of the last few years—the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on people and communities around the globe, the conflict and unrest brought about by issues of inequality around the world and the mental health issues that have accompanied the complex times we are living in—I draw hope from Dr. King’s optimism about the future as stated in this quote:

“We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

My hope is that the difficulties of the past will serve as a turning point, allowing us to reflect on what these dark times have taught us, and that we will move into the future with a wiser, deeper, more empathetic perspective on life and the impact we each make in the world.

What are American Tower employees doing to mark MLK Day?

MLK Day is a paid holiday for our U.S. employees and once again we are partnering with organizations in three cities to sponsor events honoring Dr. King’s legacy of public service. In Boston, where American Tower is headquartered, we are sponsoring Boston Cares’ 17th Annual MLK Day Service event. In Atlanta and Cary, North Carolina, where we also have large employee bases, we are sponsoring the MLK Days of Service through Hands on Atlanta and Activate Good’s Dignity Week, respectively. Through each of these organizations, employees can participate in a wide variety of activities designed to do good for others, including virtual volunteering, training and information sessions, and conversations on race, equity and community issues.

In other parts of the country, we have encouraged our colleagues to take advantage of service opportunities through AmeriCorps. Though the pandemic means volunteerism will continue to look different this year, we know many of our colleagues look forward to opportunities to give back to their communities.

Colleen Richards Powell

Colleen Richards Powell is Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

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