On a warm summer day in August 1963, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his world famous "I Have a Dream" speech. As we take time to honor his legacy, let's do more than just reflect on his vision, and the impact his life had. Let us instead focus on continuing the work he started, so the dreams he spoke of that day can be fully realized.

As business and brand leaders, you have the power to make positive change within the realm of your role. Here's how.

1. Create and cultivate a culture of belonging for all

In the speech, King talked about the realities of life for African-Americans, after the Emancipation Proclamation abolished slavery. 

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

A few passages later, he connected the reality to his dream of what he knew was possible.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Nearly 60 years later, the discrimination he spoke about still exists -- for both Black people and other underrepresented groups. For instance, nearly 80 former franchise owners have sued McDonald's for racial discrimination. They contend that discriminatory policies within the company have prevented Black operators from securing prime locations and from earning to the same degree as other non-Black operators. And Google is being investigated by California Civil Rights Regulator for unfair treatment of Black women employees.

You don't have to wait for lawsuits or government investigations to find out if your company and team culture is toxic to Black talent or those from other marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Do your due diligence now to find out if there are parts of your culture that need to be addressed to ensure all your team members can thrive and feel like they belong. That may mean doing some focus groups, talking with team members individually, or even engaging support from an outside party to evaluate how well you're doing.

When you're proactive about weeding out areas of the culture that are harmful to certain groups, you'll be in a better position to create a safe space where everyone thrives.

2. Eliminate systems that uphold inequality

In his speech, King reminded us of the values and beliefs the country as we know it was founded on:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

While we've made great strides toward equality since the 1960s, there remain a few areas within the workplace that need attention. First, the gender pay gap still exists. Women earn 82 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts. However, the pay gap widens when we looking at the data for Black, Indigenous, and Latina women, who earn 63, 60, and 57 cents on the dollar respectively.

Your brand can work to ensure the gender pay gap is non-existent in your company, or at the very least, on your team. Look at the numbers to assess where you stand. Then set a date to for when you will achieve pay parity.

A second thing you could do in this area is to ensure your teams are representative at all levels within your organization, not just at entry or mid-level management positions. Data from The Society Pages shows as of 2020, 90 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are White males, 6.8 percent are White women, 3.4 percent Latino, 2.4 percent East or South Asian, and only 1 percent are African American. These numbers at the highest levels are far from representative of the population. 

Your company can work to make sure you diversify your talent at all levels. Evaluate what your numbers look like now, and then set a target of where you'd like to be by a certain date. Tech company Salesforce has done this for its workforce, stating clear goals it would like to achieve by 2023, including doubling the representation of underrepresented groups in leadership.