On MLK Day

Mid-January is marked by Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day, a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the birth of, arguably, one of the world’s most renowned civil rights leaders. There are many ways to honor MLK, from listening reflectively to podcasts such as the MLK Tapes and performing acts of community service to hosting speaking events.

Speaking events honor MLK’s success as a leader and gifted orator who taught by example how to lead others in finding and using their voice. In my #MLKDay2023 keynote address sponsored by the Saha Mbah Association, I emphasized the importance of continuing to strive for justice and civil rights in 2023 and beyond. I drew upon the life, lessons, and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., a fellow member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, to offer a critical understanding of the strength of nonviolent protest and the power of using our voices to fight for racial justice. I urged all those in the listening audience to challenge unjust systems, change inequitable structures, and call for greater accountability, as we work together to have courageous conversations that will create lasting change in our communities.

Communication doesn’t just happen through spoken word; writing is an important means too. If you’re a blogger, one of the most effective ways to honor MLK is by sharing your support, gratitude and appreciation of his life work through your writing. Here are five ways you can honor MLK via your blogging, both now and in the future.

Bloggers: 5 Ways to Honor MLK

  • Re-post quotes. Some of the most powerful words and thoughts ever spoken have come straight from the mind of MLK. (Re)sharing some of these timeless gems with attribution is a great way to honor MLK on your blog. After all, it’s never too late for a good quote. You might use online tools such as Canva to create a social media image in joint photographic expert group (jpeg) format that displays a famous MLK quote like: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Images and quotes can be shared with others through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or within a blog, as shown above.
  • Connect MLK’s work to current issues. In order to stay relevant and honor MLK’s legacy, connect his work to current issues. Doing so will provide readers with an understanding of how far civil rights have come and build continued appreciation for the work done by MLK and other civil rights activists. You may also help introduce his work to broader and younger audiences. For instance, January 1983 is generally agreed upon as the birth of the internet–it did not exist during the time of MLK’s earthly mission. But his commitments to advancing human rights, fighting racism, mobilizing citizens, and securing voting rights for all are just as relevant today as they were in the 1960’s. Writing about these connections, highlighting examples of e-activism, and using social media, hashtags, and blogs to raise awareness are key components of digital activism that can honor MLK.
📸 by Bee Calder via Unsplash
  • Share an inspiring story. Whether it’s a personal story or one of someone else, using your blog to share an inspiring story related to the work of MLK is a great way to honor his contributions. Use your blog to highlight testimonials from people involved in local community projects related to King’s vision. This could include writing about local initiatives such as clothing drives, food pantries, voting rallies, and community shelters for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Promote inclusivity and diversity. Through your blog, seek to challenge discrimination or any form of exclusion based on race or ethnicity. Participate in meaningful discussions about the importance of recognizing and appreciating diversity. Use your blog to encourage people to engage in deeper education related to civil rights, human rights, anti-racism, and social justice. This could involve advocating for participation in events such as local marches, online rallies, reading groups, and volunteering with socially-conscious organizations. Bloggers might also use their platform to educate others about the differences between diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and related terms.
  • Celebrate MLK’s achievements. Highlight the major accomplishments of Dr. King, such as leading the civil rights movement, inspiring the “March on Washington,” and delivering the “I Have A Dream” speech. Using your blog, spread his message of love, justice, and nonviolent protest, as well as evidence of the progress made under and since his leadership.

To be sure, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a renowned civil rights leader, whose life and work have left an indelible mark on history. On MLK Day, and every day, we honor Dr. King’s life by continuing to promote his teachings of inclusion, diversity, and justice for all. As writers and messengers, we have a platform to carry on his legacy through our words and stories. By following these five tips, we can honor MLK by sharing his quotes, connecting his work to current issues, sharing inspiring stories, promoting inclusivity and diversity, and celebrating his achievements. Indeed, MLK Day is a “day on,” not a day off. May blogs like this help inspire others to act now against evil, hate, and prejudice in the world knowing this: ”Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” in the powerful, prescient words of MLK. Go #DoGoodWork!

Author(s)

  • Terrell Strayhorn

    Consultant, DEI Expert, Professor

    Virginia Union University

    Terrell Strayhorn is a professor, public speaker, writer, entrepreneur, and influencer in the fields of education, psychology, corporate training, and community engagement. He contributes to Entrepreneur, AllBusiness, Huffington PostDiverse IssuesThrive GlobalThe TennesseanCharlotte Observer, and more. Dr. Strayhorn is a leading DEI expert, consultant, and life coach who specializes in helping corporations and institutions build cultures of belonging that truly unleash human potential. He is Professor of Education and Psychology at Virginia Union University, where he also serves as Director of the Center for the Study of HBCUs and Principal Investigator of The Belonging Lab.