Football, Fear and Facebook at Dow’s King Celebration

Former 49er Guy McIntyre with Pittsburg High Student, Bianka Machado (L) and her teacher, Tayler Maia (R).

“Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics once gave a speech and it started with “Do not be afraid.” This was the jumping off point for Guy McIntyre’s keynote speech this morning at Dow’s Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King.

McIntyre, a former offensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers was on hand to address the community and Dow employees about Dr. King – and he did through his experience as a pro athlete.

Though sports stories were only part of his twenty-minute address (citing the difficulties faced by Jackie Robinson and others), growing as human beings took center stage. He spoke about fear, courage, love and faith, saying, “The only way to master fear is with love … perfect love,” and ending with an old English proverb, “When fear knocked on the door, love answered and there was no one there.” No doubt, his words came from experience.

But just as inpiring was the essay read by Pittsburg High School sophomore, Bianka Machado, who took first place in Dow’s annual essay contest. The contest this year focused on civility, a value that the County Office of Education is working to restore in our schools.

Specifically, the question asked of students was “How has modern technology (cell phones, social media and the Internet) impacted civility?” Machado weaved Dr. King – and his era of no cell phones, no reality television shows and no Facebook – into an expose of how we have lost sight of civility.

“Modern technology has changed civility because we’ve inherited a shyness and timidity to meet people, so we add them on Facebook,” she writes. “Dr. King would go out and meet people to understand how they felt and reach a level of formality and kindness towards each other. We demolished that with new modern day technology.”

Also part of the packed program was noted jazz saxophonist Kevin Moore, who played two selections from his new CD “The Prayer Closet.”

Dow honored Silvester Henderson, Chair of the Music Department at Los Medanos College and a professor at UC Berkeley, with Dow’s MLK Community Award, for his decades of work using gospel to unite the community. Dow also presented the Dow MLK Employee Award to employee Jamie Polan, an engineer who has been a champion of diversity in the workplace and has promoted unity not only among her colleagues but across the entire site. As her supervisor, Paul Caizzi, said, “She inpires me to not only be a better employee but a better person.”

All attendees left with a gift – a journal. On the cover of the journal was the winning artwork from Deer Valley High School senior, Karla Rosales. Her art was chosen over more than 50 submissions in Dow’s first Poster Contest, asking students to illustrate one aspect of civility.

This was Dow’s 12th annual Celebration of Dr. King and is indicative of the company’s commitment to all Dr. King espoused – respect for others, tolerance, love, acceptance, diversity and equality.

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