Unity: Gray’s Dedication to Diversity
The old adage: united we stand, divided we fall, might, at times, seems too simplistic and outdated but it remains forever true. In the world in 2021, following a tumultuous 2020 filled with chaos, calamity, and confusion, this message of unity is one that is needed now, more than ever.
The 27th Annual Unity Breakfast hosted by Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. looked different this year, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. “Unity: In an Age of Uncertainty,” the message from this year’s virtual gathering, seemed to fit the bill for the hour.
Leaders and individuals from all walks of life gathered, or rather logged in or tuned in on television, on Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday to celebrate the differences within our community and how those differences make us stronger. Gray was proud to sponsor this celebration, for the twenty seventh year, and continue our commitment to diversity. Randall Vaughn, vice president of architecture and engineering professional services at Gray, annually participates in this event and was again involved this year. We spoke with Randall about how he got involved with this event, what makes it so special, and why it’s important to promote diversity and unity within the community.
How did you become involved with The Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter Education Foundation and the Unity Breakfast?
I’m a member of the graduate chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter, Lexington. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is the oldest African American Greek lettered fraternity and includes alumni such as Dr. King, Jesse Owens, Thurgood Marshall, Whitney Young, Paul Robeson, and countless others. ABL chapter was chartered in 1928 and has a long history and storied past of community service and activism. I was initiated in 1988, so I’ve been with the chapter for more than 30 years.
How long have you been involved with the Annual Unity Breakfast?
I’ve been involved with the Breakfast since its inception. The program was modeled after Unity Breakfast in Birmingham, AL. This year is our 27th year hosting the Unity Breakfast. It’s one of the largest signature community events with more than 1700 attendees. The Alpha Beta Lambda Education Foundation serves as the sponsor of the breakfast, of which I currently serve as vice-chair. I served as foundation chair from 2008 until 2019.
What is the main purpose of the event?
The main purpose of the event is to bring together individuals from all walks of life, from “different races, religions, ethnicities, origins, etc.” in Lexington and Central Kentucky to celebrate unity. The event is held on Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday to acknowledge Dr. King’s call for peace and unity.
For those who have not been given the opportunity to attend the event in person in years past, please describe what you love most about the Unity Breakfast.
I most love that there is something for everyone, whether it is a musical selection, an essay reading, a Bible passage, unity award recipient, or one of the reflection speeches given on Dr. King and his ideals around education, spiritualism, humanitarianism, and civil rights. Attendees are of all ages, all races, all ethnicities—you see the love and compassion one has for one another.
In your own words, please describe why you feel it is important to promote unity within our communities.
It is important we promote unity in community, because while we may think we are different, we are very much alike, and the more we are able to understand one another, then we appreciate our differences and accept one another.
For more information about the annual event, visit here.
To learn more about the diversity within Gray, visit our People section to see stories about the team members who help make up Gray.