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The Last Word

From COVID-19 to equality of opportunity, it is time for trucking to lead

By Mark Colson

Truckers are leaders, plain and simple.  All of the 3.5 million individuals working in our business across America know this, and following trucking’s response to COVID-19, Americans are now more aware than ever of the strong and courageous leadership provided by truckers. 

In hard times and good times, crisis or Christmas, truckers deliver the goods for America safely and efficiently.  We have proven ourselves to be the cavalry of America’s economy through many challenges such as 9/11, hurricanes and pandemics.

As COVID-19 and the emergency shutdowns in response to it still linger, the trucking economy hangs in uncertainty. Yet, America is facing another major challenge: racial equality and justice.  This is not a new challenge. It has been present since the founding of our great nation.  Along the way, there have been astounding tragedies and triumphant progress, but there is still much road to cover.

Individuals, businesses and industries are struggling to find the best route to be part of a proactive solution.  Let’s be honest, it is a sensitive subject rife with pitfalls, especially given the social media culture that exists today.  But at the core is a diverse landscape where understanding, communication, opportunity and love can bridge many divides.

For these reasons, the Alabama Trucking Association (ATA) announced it is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a national initiative to address inequality of opportunity.

Alabama Trucking will join the U.S. Chamber’s national town hall event on June 25 where business and community leaders will discuss concrete actions that can be taken by government and private sectors to address inequality through education, employment, entrepreneurship and criminal justice reform. As a partner for this important initiative, Alabama Trucking will also actively create local and industry dialogues to further the discussion.

The trucking industry and the people in it have an immense opportunity and obligation to positively influence equality and take an actionable stand against social injustice and racism. Taking action comes in many forms: changing practices, making sacrifices and listening to understand. Hundreds of thousands of Black Americans proudly work in the trucking industry, and now is the time for action.

This national initiative will build on the work already undertaken by Alabama Trucking to fight injustice and abuse exemplified in its partnership with Truckers Against Trafficking, which has rescued thousands of human trafficking victims and brought justice to their abusers.

U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark drove the message home, “The moral case for greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace is indisputable, and there’s overwhelming evidence that greater diversity benefits the American economy, businesses, communities and employees. We are proud to partner with the Alabama Trucking Association on this initiative and help develop a robust plan of action.”

As COVID-19 struck America, it was with immense pride that I saw our trucks rolling up and down the road as beacons of hope for Americans who could be rest assured that emergency relief goods were getting safely to their destination, and they could continue to access the goods they needed to maintain their daily lives. I pray that we will be able to look back on this pivotal time in our nation’s history and know that truckers once again chose to lead.

“If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Mark Colson is the president and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association.  He has served as an advocate for Alabama’s business community serving various leadership roles at the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), Alabama’s state chamber of commerce.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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