As a freelancer who sets my own hours, federal holidays rarely matter. I’ve tugged on the locked post office door on a Monday wondering what holiday I forgot about. Sometimes I choose not to celebrate these holidays because my clients do and that means a day of uninterrupted work.
But let me suggest that Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be something different: It should be a day on, not a day off.
Not just a day to keep on working, but a day to engage in the kind of community-building and volunteerism that exemplified King’s life and work.
Racial unrest across the nation is proof that King’s dream is far from achieved. Segregation may be in the trash heap of history, but equality is far from universal. Systemic racism and outright discrimination still exist today—people of color lag behind whites in nearly every category, from education to income. We often think bold-faced discrimination ended with the civil rights movement, but it did not.
So if we want to truly honor King’s legacy, we shouldn’t allow MLK Day to become just another holiday—a day off and excuse for retail sales. We should use it as an opportunity to embrace justice and equality in our communities.
And not just for one day either. Allow this day to be a starting point, not a one time thing.
See if there are ways you can volunteer or attend a local event. Be a part of your community. The WordPress community is big on giving back, so here’s your chance.
- If you don’t know what injustice is haunting your neighborhoods, find out. An MLK event may be a good opportunity to connect with local organizations and listen to learn about today’s challenges.
- If you don’t have a specific place to volunteer, find one. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities where you can get your feet wet and find something that’s a good fit.
- If you feel like you don’t know much about Martin Luther King Jr. besides the regular platitudes, find out. This is a good time to start researching King or the wider civil rights movement.
As freelancers, we often revel in our freedom. Most of us didn’t have to go on strike or protest to get the opportunities we needed or to do the work we wanted to do. We’ve greatly benefited from the community spirit around WordPress and the countless contributions that have made it what it is.