For many, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day off — and sadly, little else.  Aside from the school lessons that paint a picture of Dr. King’s life and activism, many of us are removed from his impact. Martin Luther King Jr. is a historical name we’ve learned to recognize and respect. How can we honor his legacy in ways that make a difference in 2018.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a racial justice leader and community organizer.  While volunteering has always been the noted effort to recognizing MLK Day, here are a few different and impactful ways to celebrate a movement that has continued to challenge us today.

Recognize privilege: We have heard the phrase “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”  Our identities are complex systems of privileges and repressions (known as intersectionality.) This is a call to acknowledge our privilege and start dismantling it. It’s a difficult undertaking. But if we don’t recognize our privileges, we’re complicit in the systems we’re working against.

Use this as an opportunity to work on your allyship: Attend the SURJ KC Education Core January Meeting at Rockhurst University. And then attend another. If you don’t know what SURJ KC (Showing Up for Racial Justice, Kansas City)  is, they organize people as part of the multi-racial majority, for racial justice. Through personal support, political education, and solidarity action, SURJ KC moves everyone to act as part of a multi­racial majority for justice with passion and accountability. Other local organizations: Resist Hate KC and Big Brothers/Big Sisters Kansas City.

Have important conversations about racial justiceTalking about racial injustice is a very uncomfortable subject and it should be!  But when we are committed to talking about it in a respectful way, it can be done. Listen more; talk less. Respect for multiple perspectives and histories – those that have been lifted and those that have been left behind. Embrace the discomfort of the unknown. This is how you make change happen.

Don’t just celebrate Dr. King, honor the day by being moved to action.

At Veracity, we’re striving to build a better community. Join us as we celebrate 2018 #MLKDAY with community action, volunteering and through our Veracity Give Back program. Veracity champions several charitable causes throughout the year.  To learn more about the causes championed by Veracity Consulting or if you are interesting in learning how your company can start a Give Back program,  contact me.