To celebrate Boeing South Carolina’s 10th anniversary, Boeing brought together student and community leaders from both the Charleston and Washington, D.C. area for a day of shared learning and networking, culminating in the viewing of the original Emancipation Proclamation at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
“When Boeing sought to expand our operations a decade ago, we saw something special in South Carolina,” said Tim Keating, executive vice president of Boeing Government Operations. “And today, it is clear that we made the right choice. You have showed the world what South Carolina is made of and you have worked with us to show what true partnership and friendship really means.”
The Rev. Nelson Rivers, of Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, called the experience “a powerful opportunity.”
Earlier this year, Boeing announced a $1.1 million investment to sponsor the annual display of the original Emancipation Proclamation and related programs at the Washington, D.C., National Archives Museum through 2029. As part of the sponsorship, the National Archives will present the original proclamation one weekend annually for the next 10 years. Due to its fragility, sensitivity to light exposure and the need to preserve it for future generations, the document can only be made available for a very limited time.
“We are proud to support this important institution, and it is our hope that through the preservation of these historic documents we will continue to connect future generations to important lessons from our shared American past – helping to bridge divides and bring us closer together,” Keating said.
Following the viewing, the group visited the Martin Luther King Memorial, the National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) and participated in a robust conversation around topics of racial equity, cultural heritage and history, and how the private sector can continue to partner with these change agents to build stronger, more diverse communities that value and embrace inclusive practices.
“For Boeing to reflect the spirit of that document says that Boeing is consistent with what I would want to believe the principles and standards upon which this nation were supposedly built, particularly when that proclamation was signed,” said Bishop Samuel Green, who leads South Carolina’s African Methodist Episcopal Church. “If more of us represented it, I think that we would have a greater sense of harmony, greater sense of unity, greater sense of brotherhood and sisterhood among all people in this wonderful country.”
Students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) with which Boeing partners also shared their perception of Boeing as a corporate leader in diversity and inclusion.
“I feel like diversity is really great and really important because it includes all different types of minds from different types of backgrounds,” said Barrington Davis, a current college student at Howard University. “And with those different minds coming together, you really come up with great solutions that become innovative for any company, especially with a company such as Boeing.”.
Boeing also funds the NMAAHC and partners with HBCUs and minority institutions in support of recruitment, charitable donations, continuing education for employees, internships for current students, and research and development contracts. The company has hired more than 1,800 graduates of HBCUs during the past four years, emphasizing the importance of ongoing campus recruiting, mentoring and active engagement with partner schools and the communities they serve.
“We put out there in the forefront that diversity and inclusion is important to our company,” National Strategy and Engagement Director Tommy Preston said. “It really is special and it makes me very proud to work for the Boeing Company.”
Boeing’s workforce in South Carolina now exceeds 6,400 employees and contractors, and the supply network includes more than 270 local businesses. Last year, Boeing made $264 million in vendor and supplier purchases. The site in North Charleston, S.C., commonly referred to as Boeing South Carolina, also was the company's first 100 percent renewable energy facility.