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How to Celebrate MLK Day at Work

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, find ways to honor the prolific Civil Rights leader through educational team building or an official day of service. Read on for more ideas below!

#Work-Life Balance
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3D cartoon-model Martin Luther King, Jr. surrounded by colorful confetti on a dark background
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What is Martin Luther King Day? ๐Ÿ’ญ

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the primary spokesperson for nonviolent activism and racial justice in the Civil Rights Movement, protesting racial discrimination in state and federal law. After his assassination in 1968, there was a major push for a federal holiday designated to commemorate King's legacy.

The holiday was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, but wasn't observed until 1986. The bill also formed the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission to oversee the observance of the holiday. Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.'s wife, was honored with a lifetime appointment to this committee in 1989. Although federal recognition occurred in the late 1980's, it wasn't until the year 2000 that MLK Day was observed in all 50 states.

Many schools and businesses are closed to observed this national holiday, motivating students and employees to:

  • Commemorate Dr. King's life with a Day of Service. Instead of just taking another holiday from work and school, as encouraged by federal legislation in the King Holiday and Service Act, AmeriCorps mobilizes organizations to coordinate volunteer opportunities on MLK Day. ๐Ÿซ‚
  • Center Dr. King's message, seminars, and Civil Rights History in their programming for the day, should they decide to remain open. ๐Ÿ’ฌ


When is Martin Luther King Day celebrated? ๐Ÿ—“

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. To celebrate his birthday, MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January, annually.

This means that the holiday falls somewhere between January 15 and January 21 each year.

In anticipation of MLK Day, it's time to start planning your yearly community service projects and DEIย team building activities that honor King's dream of racial justice and peace for all.

Need some ideas to get you started? Here are three ideas to commemorate King's life this January:


3 ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. with your team:

1. Learn about the Civil Rights leader's life ๐Ÿ“š

Surely, you've heard MLK's "I have a dream" speech, but his racial and social justice work includes so much more. This MLK Day, take time to familiarize yourself with more of his early life and upbringing in Atlanta, GA, that led him to become such a pillar in the Civil Rights Movement.

Consider listening to some of his other, lesser-known speeches, marches, and public appearances that played a monumental role in gaining traction for the nonviolent approach in the Civil Rights Movement, and earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Why is this a great activity for MLK Day? Gathering your team together to dive deeper into MLK's history is a wonderful way to better understand the racial injustice he was protesting at the time, as well as examine the work that can still be done to fight for an equitable world for all.

How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Learn more about Dr. King in The MLK You Didn't Know!
Virtual The MLK You Didn't Know


2. Honor MLK's legacy โ™ฅ๏ธ

Although MLK's life was taken much too soon, he left a revolutionary impact on our nation, and world as a whole. His speeches, sermons, and teachings on nonviolence have shaped artists, educators, and writers all over.

This MLK day, take time to examine works of art from local and national galleries that were created in response to racial injustice and MLK's teachings.

Why is this a great activity for MLK Day? There is so much that can be learned from works of art, especially when you take time to gather together and discuss them from our different perspectives.

How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ See how MLK's dream has inspired others in Exploring MLK's Legacy Through Art!
Virtual Exploring MLK's Legacy Through Art


3. Find MLK Day volunteer opportunities ๐Ÿค

The greatest way to celebrate MLK is by volunteering in your community. Plus, did you know? Aside from September 11th, MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. It's the only national day of service dedicated to a single person and their history!

Here are some ways you can support your communities in King's honor this MLK Day:

  • If some of your hybrid team works in an office, have a food and coat drive! Nominate someone from the office to take the items to a local community charity that is in need of donations on your day off of work.
  • Make hygiene and necessity kits to support houseless people in your community. These can include things like toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, soap, socks, hairbrush, water and food, and more.
  • Spend the day of service in your local park or other green space, by picking up trash, planting trees and flowers, and making efforts to make your community more beautiful and accessible to all.

Need some virtual volunteer opportunities? Here are some organizations you can support this MLK Day:

  • Volunteer as a transcriber with The Smithsonian, whose mission is to make historical documents and other educational materials more accessible to those with visual impairments. โŒจ๏ธ
  • Sign up to volunteer with UPchieve, a free online platform that provides tutoring and college preparation services to low-income students. ๐Ÿ“
  • Open your wallet! There are many organizations working towards racial justice and equity for all that are in need of donations, this MLK Day, and all year round. โš–๏ธ

Why is this a great activity for MLK Day? MLK Day is a national day of service after all! There's no better way to remember Dr. King than by using your day off work or school as a day on the ground, contributing to a more accessible and inclusive society.

How to get started ๐Ÿ‘‰ Encourage your employees to start brainstorming the ways they'll spend their day of service outside of the office. If you live nearby coworkers, form smaller groups to hold each other accountable and volunteer together!


Carry on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy this January ๐ŸŽŠ

On this MLK Day, we hope you'll prioritize gathering with your team to learn more about King's legacy and implement his teachings in a national day of service, finding ways you can serve your community.

Ready to add your MLK Day team building lesson to the company calendar? Contact to get started!




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