Advancing the Dream

DuPont News, January 28, 2013
Advancing the Dream
Kevin Powell, keynote speaker, addresses the audience. Photos by RodRick Moore.


Hundreds of employees and guests recently gathered at the DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, Del., for the company’s 23rd annual “Day of Celebration” to honor the legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event’s theme, “Advancing the Dream:  Respect, Commit, Collaborate and Serve,” reaffirmed the connection between our core values and Dr. King’s dream. 

“Dr. King dedicated his life to inclusion and collaboration,” said DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman. “He envisioned a world where all people are treated equally. Our core values support his vision and everything Dr. King stood for.”

The event began with a powerful re-enactment of Dr. King’s famous speeches by Reverend John Moore, vice president of the United Way of Delaware and pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Dover.

Audiences leapt to their feet in standing ovation after performances by the Christina Cultural Arts Center Dance Company and the DuPont Diversity Choir.

In the spirit of Dr. King’s philosophies, DuPont honored the Food Bank of Delaware for its community service with a monetary donation. In addition, employees donated 377 lbs. of nonperishable food items.

“Charity begins at home,” said Peggy Vavalla, DuPont Education liaison, as she presented the check on behalf of the company.

“Each of us can contribute to strengthening our own communities by offering our time, not only on special holidays, but throughout the year,” said Phuong Tram, vice president of Information Technology and chief information officer.

This year’s keynote speaker, Kevin Powell, is an acclaimed activist, speaker and author of 11 books. As he spoke about education, respect and leadership, Kevin’s compelling and inclusive message was simple: “Respect, Commit, Collaborate and Serve.”

“We need to embody what Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement was all about,” Kevin said. “We are in this together. We have no choice but to collaborate. Being able to see the humanity of others and their perspectives is what collaboration is all about.”

While offering personal reflections from his family’s struggles with poverty and racism during the Civil Rights era and beyond, Kevin challenged the audience to learn more about Dr. King’s philosophies and always practice kindness, nonviolence, peace and inclusive thinking.

Lydia Mallett, director, Organization Vibrancy, thanked the planning team for their dedicated leadership, and employees from the Greater Wilmington area for actively participating in the celebration.

Focusing her comments on DuPont core values, Lydia said, “One of our greatest strengths we have as a company is our commitment to our core values. Each of us is a steward for our core values, and we must constantly renew our commitment to further shape the character of our company.”

“This has been a truly inspiring Day of Celebration,” said event Co-Chairs Portia Yarborough, technical manager, DuPont Performance Polymers, and Marc Cottman, area manager at the Chambers Works plant. “Dr. King had a special ability to inspire others with his passion, values and ideals. His legacy continues and we all have a part to play in advancing his dream.”