ATG's Ja'Ton Simpson Helps Promote Peace and Equality
J a’Ton Simpson was a little nervous when he realized that there were more than 400 people at Missoula’s 2017 Martin Luther King Day Community Celebration, and they were all waiting for him to speak. Seeing his coworkers from Advanced Technology Group (ATG) in the audience gave him a boost of confidence, and he was able to “speak from the heart” about the Civil Rights Movement leader and how his legacy impacts today’s society.
An analyst at ATG’s Missoula office and a motivational speaker, Simpson was on the planning committee and served as Emcee at this year’s community celebration.
Events included a “Read for Peace” in 14 local schools; a youth art and essay contest; a youth rally; a March for Justice; a performance by Montana artist Andre Floyd; and, a community dinner featuring keynote speaker Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfeet Tribe.
“I was honored to be Emcee at this important community celebration,” Simpson said. “I’ve found that so many times people don’t know where they can help or what role they can play. This is not only the perfect time to celebrate diversity, peace, and equality, but to share it. The celebration was moving and inspirational.”
Music was a significant part of the celebration, and the planning committee met numerous times to pick appropriate songs, Simpson said. “The songs were super impactful. The whole place lit up with dancing, singing, and clapping.”
Simpson also was impressed with the community’s participation in the March for Justice. “It was a good mile march from Caras Park to St. Paul’s church where we all gathered together. It was pretty cold, but everyone bundled up, huddled together, and walked through downtown.
The theme of the 2017 celebration centered around Dr. King’s quote, “In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” EmpowerMT, Emmaus Campus Ministry, the YWCA of Missoula, and Montana Campus Compact worked together along with community volunteers to put on the program.
The fact that the ATG team came out to support Simpson and the cause was very meaningful to the California native. “It was so awesome to celebrate Martin Luther King and the justice and equality he stood for. It’s important for people to support and respect diversity. People always ask me why I stay in Montana. It’s because my family is here – my work family."
In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
Jay Allen is ATG's Director of Marketing and the only living recipient of the Quote 2 Cast Summit Lifetime Achievement Award - an honor, while coveted, that had no actual cash value.