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MLK Statue in Boston Gets Mixed Reactions Online

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A statue designed by Brooklyn-based artist Hank Willis Thomas called “The Embrace,” imagined as a monument to the love of Coretta Scott King, was unveiled in Boston on Friday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Mayor’s office

The Embrace, designed to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

The statue was commissioned by entrepreneur Paul English — who co-founded travel site Kayak and the Boston Venture Studio — “as a result of calls for a memorial to Dr. King spanning several decades,” the mayor’s office said in 2021. The Boston Art Commission selected Thomas, a conceptual artist based in Brooklyn, along with collaborator MASS Design Group, in 2019, and approved the final plan unanimously, the mayor’s office added.

“The Embrace” is intended to reference a famous photo of King and his wife, Coretta, hugging after King won the Nobel Peace Prize. King met his wife, Coretta, in Boston when they were both students.

Per the New York Times, the sculpture weighs 19 tons and is constructed from over 600 pieces of bronze. It is in the Boston Common in the 1965 Freedom Plaza, which celebrates other civil rights leaders in the City. It’s about 20 feet tall.

Reactions have been mixed. Some praised the sculpture’s “beauty and power” while others called it a “waste of money” or even sexually suggestive. Online, the discussion also turned to issues of historicity and how to honor the civil rights leader’s legacy.

“You never wake up and think you’d be able to contribute meaningfully to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King,” Thomas told the NYT.

The sculpture, “differs from the singular, heroic form of many memorials to Dr. King and others, instead emphasizing the power of collective action, the role of women as leaders, and the forging of new bonds of solidarity out of mutual empathy and vulnerability,” the mayor’s office also said.

Embrace Boston, a nonprofit focused on arts and racial justice, that helped fund the statute, said in a statement the work was “an incredible milestone in our journey towards Boston’s future.”

Still, the statue generated a fair amount of online controversy over the weekend.

“Y’all do everything but give us what’s owed. REPARATIONS,” musical artist Chris Crack wrote. (The Boston City Council did approve a commission to study reparations in December.)

Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah criticized the sculpture in a Twitter thread:

“It doesn’t sit well with me that Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King are reduced to body parts– just their arms. Not their faces- their expressions,” she wrote.

A cousin of Coretta gave an interview to the New York Post where he said the statue was a “waste of money.”

“As to the critics – they have not seen it in person. It is hard to show in 2D something that is this magical in 3D,” English told Entrepreneur via email.

“But I’ve been hanging out at the memorial the last few days, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive,” he said.

Mayor Michelle Wu’s office and Embrace did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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3 Ways to Boost Confidence

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“As a business owner, you’re going to face all sorts of challenges,” says business development consultant and Entrepreneur magazine writer Terry Rice. “But a lack of confidence will tank your chances of success faster than any real obstacle.”

So how do you shake off imposter syndrome when you’re attempting something new? Here are three ways to boost your confidence.

1. Realize confidence comes from past experiences, not pep talks. You don’t need motivational posters to remind yourself about what you can do. Jot down ten challenges that you’ve already won. Keep this list handy to remind yourself of what you’ve already accomplished and why you can take on new challenges.

2. Stop worrying about other people’s opinions. Most people are either rooting for you or ignoring you, so just focus on getting 1% better every day.

3. Learn to see failure as data. Think of every project, pitch, or sales call as an experiment. You’re testing something out, and if it works, great. If not, you’ve learned something and can improve your approach going forward.

Related: 60-Second Tip on Getting More Productive

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Layoffs Abound, But These Major Companies Are Still Hiring

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This year started off with massive layoffs — from Big Tech to real estate and beyond.

But it’s not all bad news.

Though many industries continue to brace for more job cuts, some of the most well-known companies are still hiring, per Insider.

Related: These Are the 2 Reasons Apple Has Avoided Mass Layoffs So Far

Economists remain optimistic about the 2023 job market, CNBC reported, noting that blue-collar workers may have more job security than white-collar employees. ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak told CNBC that despite headlines about mass layoffs, many companies “are starved for talent and leaving money on the table because they can’t run at full capacity.”

Related: Layoffs Affecting 1,600 Tech Workers a Day on Average in 2023

See Insider’s full list of hiring companies and the number of jobs they’re looking to fill below.

Chipotle: 15,000 jobs

Boeing: 10,000 jobs

United Airlines: 2,500 jobs

Airbus: 13,000 jobs

Alaska Airlines: 3,500 jobs

Bloomberg: 1,000 jobs

Moderna: 2,000 jobs

Palantir Technologies: A few hundred jobs

Binance: 15%-30% workforce increase

Hudson Tunnel Project: 72,000 jobs

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6 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month beyond February

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Celebrating Black History Month is a great way to honor the significant contributions African Americans have made throughout history. However, to create a truly equitable workplace and ensure that our employees feel seen, heard and valued daily, it’s essential to recognize Black history as an integral part of American history throughout the year.

Research shows that workplace diversity positively impacts employee engagement and productivity. In other words, creating an environment of inclusivity for all employees isn’t just the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. An authentic celebration of Black heritage throughout the year can help companies foster understanding and empathy among coworkers from different backgrounds. Such a celebration also allows employees to learn more about their colleagues’ experiences, promoting a deeper sense of community and understanding.

Related: It’s Black History Month. Here’s How to Show Black Employees You Care.

By recognizing Black history all year long, companies can show their employees they care while demonstrating a commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, valued and respected. Celebrating Black culture is one way to ensure all employees feel included in the workplace, no matter what month it is.

Here are six ways to be a better ally and celebrate Black History Month beyond February:

1. Celebrate authentic Black history and culture

Make sure that all employees have access to accurate and current information about the African-American experience and contributions throughout history. Encourage employees to learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans in a variety of fields — from science and engineering to art, music and literature.

How to implement it: Provide employees with a list of books, movies and articles by African Americans that tell the stories of African Americans throughout history. As opposed to non-African Americans telling the stories about African Americans (which has been the norm for too long).

Related: Be Intentional About Diversity

2. Plan authentic events

Celebrate Black History Month by planning events that make meaningful connections to the African-American experience. Invite guest speakers to share their unique perspectives on Black success stories and create opportunities for employees to engage in dialogue about important topics such as race, identity and inclusion.

How to implement it: Engage in an open dialogue with employees about the types of events they would like to participate in, such as movie screenings, group discussions and panel talks. Use their input to plan engaging activities focusing on Black culture and history.

Related: Here’s the No. 1 Question White Leaders Ask Me About Black History Month

3. Show authentic support

Show employees that their contributions are seen and valued by celebrating their success throughout the year. From recognition awards to career advancement opportunities, ensure you’re actively engaging with all of your employees so they know their work is appreciated.

How to implement it: Highlight employee achievements in company newsletters and recognize them at team meetings. These small gestures can go a long way in making your workplace more inclusive for everyone!

4. Host educational events

Consider hosting educational events such as lectures, workshops and brown bag lunches that focus on learning more about the roots of Black history in America. Provide professional development resources and opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful conversations around race, culture, and inclusion.

How to implement it: Invite experts in the fields of African American studies or Civil Rights to speak to employees about the history and legacy of Black people in America.

5. Incorporate inclusive resources into training

Include inclusive language, images, historical facts, etc., into all existing workplace diversity curriculums and training materials. Such a universal approach will help employees become more aware of the impact that race, gender and ethnicity have on daily workplace interactions.

How to implement it: Incorporate examples from Black history into existing diversity training materials such as videos, readings, and case studies. Ask employees for feedback about which resources would be most useful for learning more about Black history and culture.

6. Develop authentic mentorship programs

Invest in mentorship programs focusing on developing collaborations between African American employees and their colleagues of other ethnic backgrounds. Establish safe spaces where everyone can share their experiences openly and without judgment.

How to implement it: Create an inclusive environment through team-building exercises, cross-cultural conversations and networking events. Facilitate dialogue among employees of different backgrounds and encourage them to share their insights and ideas.

Celebrating Black History Month is an important way to remind everyone of the contributions African Americans have made to our society over the last several hundred years. Yet it’s also important that we recognize these achievements throughout the year in the workplace. By incorporating authentic resources into the workplace, employers can create a more inclusive atmosphere for all employees — no matter what month it is.

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