09 Jan MLK Day 2023
Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) Day is celebrated every year on the third Monday in January, as a way to honor Dr. King’s achievements and legacy. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister who advocated the use of nonviolent means to end racial segregation. He was one of the most influential African American civil rights leaders and was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1964. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill on November 2, 1983, creating a federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed as a national holiday on January 20, 1986. It is the only federal holiday designated as a day of service and to take action to improve our communities.
The day is usually celebrated with marches and parades and speeches made by civil rights and political leaders. Individuals and organizations also volunteer to support what is often called the MLK Day of Service.
The Theme for 2023
Toward the end of his life, Dr. King shifted his focus toward economic justice, he launched the “Poor Peoples Campaign,” which was a broad effort to assemble a multiracial coalition of impoverished Americans who would advocate for economic change. This year, in 2023, the strategic theme is ‘It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset to Transform Unjust Systems’. This year's theme pushes us to do more than events and programming on this day and throughout the year. Collectively, we should strive for more equitable and just systems in society and in the workplace.
Celebrating MLK Day at Work
On this day we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. by closing schools, government, and many private sector offices for the day. It is an opportunity to help commemorate Dr. King’s values and serve the local community. Below are some examples of actions that can be taken virtually or in person by individuals or as a structured activity for many at your organization:
- On January 13, 2023, in celebration of the King Holiday, The King Center is calling on educational institutions and organizations around the globe to join them for a worldwide Teach-In - click here to register: 2023 Beloved Community Teach-In online. The purpose of the Beloved Community Teach-In is to educate people of all ages about Dr. and Mrs. King’s legacy and how to champion the completion of their unfinished work.
- Have your colleagues and team members volunteer to answer questions from students who want to work in your field when they grow up. CareerVillage.org's mission is to democratize career readiness by giving professionals a platform to give career information and advice to underrepresented youth.
- Provide a psychologically safe environment to educate your employees on the history of MLK Day and encourage authentic conversations. Share positive stories of local organizations in your city supporting advocacy for the BIPOC community or local businesses. Encourage BIPOC employees to share their stories and lived experiences in various ways.
- Consider diversifying your suppliers and partners by supporting Black businesses in your community or online.
- Take the lead and schedule a lunch and learn for your department. Check out this virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum to see and learn all about MLK’s life and legacy. Find ways to support the National Civil Rights Museum or get involved with your local historical society.
- Schedule a meet-up and search MLKDay.gov for volunteer opportunities. Spearheaded by AmeriCorps, the site allows you to search MLK Day virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities in your community and explore numerous other resources.
We hope these ideas help you to celebrate MLK Day meaningfully in your organization. We know that this is easier said than done, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at DEI@ouroffice.io, as we are here to support you in any way we can.