Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

mlk day

"[MLK Day]...is an opportunity to remember [his] history and recommit ourselves as citizens by volunteering in service to one another. It is also a time to consider how much work still remains to fulfill Dr. King’s dream.”

-The Corporation for National and Community Service

Martin Luther King Day, celebrated each year on the third Monday in January, is the only federal holiday designated as a day of service. It’s been called “a day on, not a day off.” Today, Bluebird Botanicals wants to take this time to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, and to renew our own commitment to serving others. We also want to ask you to rededicate yourself to service.

It’s widely known that Dr. King was the driving force behind the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, both non-violent demonstrations against racism. These non-violent protests helped lead to pivotal pieces of legislation, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, which explicitly outlaw discrimination in the labor force and racism within the voting system. 

However, as noted in The Atlantic, “[King]‘s nonviolent resistance never meant private abandonment of self-defense or even complete conversion to pacifism.” Non-violence was never meant to be a “do-nothing,” strategy. Instead, King promoted active resistance -- read: service, advocacy or protest -- utilizing non-violence as a tool (and guess what? He owned guns for self-defense, too). 

Dr. King’s call to action was exactly that - a call to take conscious actions in support of the people and causes you care for, the end goal being a more diverse, well-integrated community capable of supporting its members.

Today, less than 40 percent of major corporations include MLK Day as a major paid holiday. However, many companies including Bluebird offer a floating holiday or volunteer paid time off that can be used on MLK Day to allow employees to give time back to their respective communities. Bluebird grants 16 hours of volunteer PTO to full-time employees per year so that they can contribute to organizations they are passionate about serving. 

This move to prioritize volunteering is an essential shift in the corporate world toward fostering a more inclusive workforce and society.

However, while service is a powerful way to build community, it is just the beginning of the work. And last year, in many ways, really highlighted how much work there still is to be done.

Throughout 2020, some of our key focuses were ensuring the well-being of others during a pandemic, connecting with the community, creating new workforce norms to enhance flexibility, ensuring financial resilience, and expanding anti-racism work.

Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to this, and asking you to join us. How can you help just one other person today?

For other ways to get involved, check out local volunteer opportunities and online opportunities