TD Bank on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy and Creating Economic Opportunity for All

Originally published at TD Bank ranked No. 14 on The Fair360, formerly DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was remembered on the federal holiday honoring him on Monday, Jan. 17 with many people solely focusing on his unforgettable 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. However, his later speeches on economic inequality offer messages just as powerful. One of his most notable speeches, given at Stanford University in 1967, addressed the damage of poverty in perhaps the most stark and realistic words ever spoken on the topic. Below are a few excerpts:

  • But we must see that the struggle today is much more difficult. It’s more difficult today because we are struggling now for genuine equality. It’s much easier to integrate a lunch counter than it is to guarantee a livable income and a good solid job.
  • One America is beautiful for situation. And, in a sense, this America is overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity. This America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies; and culture and education for their minds; and freedom and human dignity for their spirits. In this America, millions of people experience every day the opportunity of having life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in all their dimensions. And in this America millions of young people grow up in the sunlight of opportunity.
  • But tragically and unfortunately, there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that constantly transforms the ebulliency of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this America, millions of work-starved men walk the streets daily in search for jobs that do not exist. In this America, millions of people find themselves living in rat-infested, vermin-filled slums. In this America, people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.


MLK’s legacy of creating economic opportunity is honored at TD

TD Bank is celebrating MLK day with a forum for colleagues about “Sharing the Wealth,” which focuses on Dr. King’s hopes for Black-owned business growth and generational wealth. Ralph Bumbaca, Commercial Market President, New York City and Hugh Allen, Regional President for Mid-South Metro and Executive Co-Lead of TD Bank’s Black Employee Network, will provide opening remarks for the event. Hugh’s personal connection to Dr. King has influenced him throughout his life.

“TD has been working hard to create awareness internally and externally about the power of supplier diversity and how these investments not only create access for diverse businesses but also provide education and training to help sustain them,” said Tanya LeMelle, Government Banking Relationship Manager for TD Bank and Metro New York Black Employee Network (BEN) Co-Lead. “Dr. King’s legacy of justice and equality is about creating economic opportunity and empowerment through the tremendous impact Black-owned businesses bring to our local communities.”

TD is directing $750 million in community investment through 2030 with the TD Ready Commitment, the bank’s corporate citizenship program. This program invests across four key areas to help foster greater financial security and help create a more sustainable and inclusive future for our customers, colleagues, and communities.

Dr. King ended his speech at Stanford on a note of optimism about the future despite the deep challenges ahead.

But I want to close by saying this afternoon, that I still have faith in the future. And I still believe that these problems can be solved.

TD Bank shares Dr. King’s optimism.

“The truth is that despite generations of people tirelessly working to achieve equality in our country, we still have a long way to go and a lot more work to do to get there. That reality might seem daunting but, like Dr. King, I too still have faith in the future and believe that these problems can be solved,” said Shelley Sylva, Head of U.S. Corporate Citizenship at TD Bank. “I am proud of what we have done at TD and through the TD Ready Commitment, working with local community organizations to help support the changes necessary to create a more sustainable and inclusive future for everyone in the communities we serve.”


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