Monday, January 18th marks the 35th anniversary of recognizing Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. 53 years after he was killed, King’s dream of true equality is remembered and celebrated against the backdrop of Black Lives Matter protests and the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color.
This year, Aduro will be closed on January 18th to honor Dr. King’s legacy and serve the community.
MLK day is more than recognizing a day but honoring one of the greatest black civil rights leaders. His life was sacrificed while he was fighting for the equality of every human being. I used to have to take this day off to volunteer, march, or provide community service but Aduro making it a company holiday is a blessing and makes me so proud. It now allows every Firestarter the opportunity to celebrate the vision, life, and purpose of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”– Kennethia Ishman-Luzolo, Director of Operations
Aduro employees take a ‘Day On’
Through his leadership of voice and action, Dr. King advanced the social justice and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. through non-violent protest. There are only two other national figures that have national holidays in the U.S. to honor them: Christopher Columbus and George Washington.
While this national holiday was signed into legislation in 1983, it only became a federally-recognized day of service in 1994. This day of service aims to honor King’s legacy and continue the important work of addressing community and social challenges and barriers, strengthening communities, and moving us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” In keeping with this, Aduro is encouraging Firestarters (Aduro employees) to consider January 18th as a “Day On” for service rather than a “Day Off.”
As our company reaches a diverse audience with varying backgrounds, we are taking a position that we have a responsibility to serve, lift, and honor our communities. Observing MLK Jr. Day as an organization continues our commitment to equity and creating a culture of inclusion and belonging for all.”– Ardith Daly, Senior Client Experience Manager and a leader of Aduro’s DE&I Strategy Council
What employers can do
We are encouraging our Firestarters to reflect and give back in ways that are most meaningful for them, knowing that methods of service are a little different this year. In addition to the “Day On,” we have provided our Firestarters with some options to make a difference in their communities.
Here are a few examples you can also share with your employees:
- Virtual volunteering, gatherings and workshops: Many organizations have switched their annual marches and workshops to be virtual this year. Check out your local organizations or use these national resources to start:
- Donations: We know times are tough for many individuals and families. If you can comfortably donate even a small amount, consider donating to a POC-owned business, local organization or community group that is meaningful to you.
- Reflect: Give yourself the space to be still and reflect. Stillness, self-care, and healing are crucial to the health of our communities, especially for those who are in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities.
We know that it is not always realistic for everyone to take the day off (or, “on”) for service. However, there are still options to honor King’s legacy and your community if that is the case:
- Virtual workshops: Many groups are doing workshops throughout the week, not only on Monday, January 18th. As you explore local and virtual offerings, look for options that occur at a time that works for your schedule.
- Educate: There are so many movies, books, podcasts, etc. out there to further your learning. As we all learn to recognize our own bias, it is as important to educate ourselves on the history that has oftentimes been overlooked (or rewritten). Below are just a few to get you started.
- Civil Rights books:
- Intersectionality Matters!
- Cape Up: Voices of The Movement
- Foster a culture of inclusion and belonging: A true culture of equity, inclusion, and belonging does not happen overnight, nor is it a one-time thing. Consider working with your employees from historically marginalized groups to collaboratively create this culture. Here are examples of where Aduro is currently focusing our efforts:
- Employee resource groups (FiHERstarters, DE&I Coalition)
- Company-wide inclusion and belonging workshops
- Leadership-specific inclusion and belonging training
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s contributions to this nation stand the test of time. We have not yet achieved his dream, but it is within our power to continue to work toward his vision. Whether or not you can take the day “on,” we hope everyone takes the opportunity to do at least one small thing to give back to their community and honor King’s legacy.