“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
We are all familiar with the story of the great Martin Luther King Jr. He was the well-loved reverend, civil rights activist, and advocate for his fellow African Americans during a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. He is fondly remembered for his success in bringing equality to everyone, which was a monumental leap forward for his time. We can all agree that our culture as a whole has benefited from the message that he shared. He is known for his preaching and peaceful protesting as he spoke of a dream that we still, in many ways, aspire to live, fifty years later.
In April of 1968, he had planned to lead a peace rally in Memphis, but he was tragically assassinated at his hotel while standing on his balcony. Martin Luther King Jr didn’t live to see the fruits of his labors, but we honor and celebrate the great changes that he made in our society, even today.
In 1983, only 16 years after his death, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law that would create Martin Luther King Jr day and recognize it as a federal holiday. Since then, the third Monday in January is recognized as a national holiday in honor of the great Martin Luther King Jr.
For a number of reasons, Martin Luther King Jr Day is a great opportunity for hosting business events. For one thing, it is not a major US holiday, but many businesses and schools take it off, leaving many people’s schedules open for other activities.
In addition, hosting an event on Martin Luther King Jr Day is a great opportunity for a company to demonstrate their desire to continue supporting diversity and the work of the civil rights movement. While the Civil Rights Movement took place nearly sixty years ago, our culture is in many ways still striving for equality and inclusion on many fronts. Choosing to show that you stand with the message of the civil rights movement yet today communicates a clear message about your company’s commitment to diversity.
I have had the pleasure of planning several events for clients over the years who have chosen to celebrate and honor the work of this incredible man, and I highly recommend making use of this special holiday for your event.
For instance, in 2006, Medicare launched Part D. This is the Prescription Drug part of Medicare health coverage, and its arrival was much anticipated! My team participated in the annual MLK celebration in St. Paul, MN, where we had a table at the Expo to educate the general public about Part D and how it works. It was a great opportunity to explain the exciting changes that had been long awaited in Medicare coverage and support the diverse population of the Twin Cities.
Then in 2009, I helped UnitedHealth Group to participate in a Martin Luther King Jr celebration in Greensboro, North Carolina. We hosted free health screenings for the PEACE of Heart Program by the UnitedHealth Foundation, which worked to identify people at risk for cardiovascular disease in underserved communities. Subsequently, UnitedHealth Group was recognized for this philanthropic program, which screened more than 1,300 people at events in Atlanta, Chicago, Greensboro, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.
You can do a large trade show or just a small day-long community event. Choosing to honor Martin Luther King Jr by hosting an event on this day is a great opportunity to promote diversity while connecting with the community you serve. You can network with diverse talents, celebrate the history that continues to be made, incorporate useful marketing strategies, and build rapport with your target audience along the way.
For instance, with the Greensboro event, we were able to effectively serve the community with the health screenings – and they were grateful! As a result, we fostered connections between healthcare providers and the general public. We educated the general public about healthy numbers for blood pressure and blood glucose. The event provided tremendous value to them as it helped them more fully understand the risks of cardiovascular disease.
The time was right to do the right thing.
Is it your time?
Would your company like to learn more about hosting a community event? Contact Wendy Porter here, and let’s start planning it!