As part of our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion we are committed to taking action against racism, which is one of the top 6 priorities for our DE&I strategy. We are committed to building a more diverse work environment, where everyone feels free to be themselves.
Recognizing the value of learning and creating awareness, our ERGs organized a fireside chat with Ms. Dorothy Counts-Scoggins, a civil rights leader to mark the Black history month. The month of February is designated as the Black history month in North America, during which the monumental breakthroughs and accomplishments of African-Americans and their vast contributions throughout U.S. history is celebrated and acknowledged.
Ms. Dorothy Counts-Scoggins, a civil rights leader; shared her first-hand experience of her journey to change the inequality of education in Charlotte, NC and across the United States. A journey that began in 1957, when she was only 15 years of age. Dorothy (Dot) shared some insightful and eye-opening experiences on her path to ensuring that no other child would endure what she experienced, and for them to know that it was their right as a citizen of the United States to receive an equal education.
This trajectory began from her two block walk toward the front door of Harding High school, which was met with racial opposition from students and adults through harassment and abuse. Upon entering the auditorium of the school it also continued. After four days of harassment, abuse and non-acceptance by her peers, teachers and administration, her parents withdrew her and she furthered her education in Yeadon, Pennsylvania and Asheville, North Carolina.
Dot has received many awards and recognitions from numerous organizations through the years for her courage and bravery to take that “first step” to change a system that was not equal for all children. To name a few, Dorothy received the 2015 Whitney M. Young Legacy Award for Outstanding Dedication to Economic and Educational Inclusion; the 2017 Charlotteans of the Year by Charlotte Magazine; the 2018 Legend in Education recipient by the South Atlantic Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; “Women Who Lead” 2018 UNCF Maya Angelou - Elizabeth Dargan Lifetime Achievement Award as a Civic Leader and Civil RightsActivist; YWCA of Central Carolina 2018 Women of Achievement Pioneer Award; Harvey B. Gantt 2018 Equity and Equality Award; and the 2018 Community Impact Award, Charlotte Area Fund.
In the 2016 Netflix documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” , James Baldwin recalled seeing photos of Counts-Scoggins and he wrote, "It made me furious and filled me with both hatred and pity and it made me ashamed--One of us should have been there with her."
Fifty years later after her abusive experience at Harding High School, on May 25, 2007, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education named the Media Center of Harding University High School “The Dorothy Counts-Scoggins Media Center”, an honor rarely bestowed upon living persons. In addition, an Honorary Harding University High School diploma was awarded during the graduation exercise with other graduating seniors.
Please listen to our fireside chat with Ms. Counts-Scoggins here: