Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2024 Is an Opportunity for Racial Healing

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January 15, 2024

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 15, 2024, is an annual observance to honor the life and legacy of the prominent civil rights leader. There are a variety of ways to recognize the holiday, including personal reflection, education, service projects, and advocacy.

“At Social Current, we say that equity is a journey, which always reminds me of the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, ‘If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,’” says Romero Davis, director of practice excellence at Social Current. “It’s a reminder of the principles of equity, justice, and the ongoing pursuit of a better, more inclusive society that Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for throughout his life.”

The King Center has given this year the theme, It Starts with Me: Shifting the Cultural Climate through the Study and Practice of Kingiang Nonviolence. According to the center, nonviolence is a love-centered way of thinking, speaking, acting, and engaging that leads to personal, cultural, and societal transformation. For nonviolent social change, it recommends six steps: Information Gathering, Education, Personal Commitment, Negotiation, Direct Action, and Reconciliation. It describes Reconciliation as, “Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community.’”

Social Current is offering a new healing-centered virtual learning series, starting March 19, that will delve into the intersection of brain science and equity. By understanding the brain science related to bias and racism, we can be better prepared to have increased self-awareness, engage productively in difficult conversations, and create environments that support belonging for all people.

“Our framework for advancing equity prioritizes healing at three levels—individual, organization, and system. Racism harms all of us and requires us to work from the inside-out,” says Kelly Martin, director of practice excellence at Social Current. By focusing first on individual healing and growth, we are supporting others in their ability to engage in productive, sustainable antiracism efforts within their organizations, as well as within their communities and systems.”

Social Current also will be recognizing the National Day of Racial Healing by encouraging our network organizations to participate, and by focusing our monthly antiracist employee resource group discussion on the topic of racial healing. The National Day of Racial Healing, created by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and celebrated the Tuesday following Martin Luther King Jr. Day, provides an opportunity for individuals, communities, and organizations to join together in acknowledging the values we share as people, build trust in one other, develop authentic relationships and inspire collective action to heal from the effects of racism.

At Social Current, we have seen the power of using equity, diversity, and inclusion to engage an organization’s full strength and range of views, experiences, and abilities. Undraye Howard, vice president at Social Current, recently discussed this in an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, What Strong Organizations Know about DEI.

We believe in embedding equity in organizations to encourage healthy dialogue, sense of belonging, and adaptive leadership skills. “Organizations who grasp (the benefits of advancing equity) will ultimately show impact in their bottom line, organizational goals, and mission,” says Undraye in the article. “The equity journey is for the long haul but taking that first step should be the priority for all organizations who seek to uphold the values upon which our nation was founded.”

Learn more about Social Current’s work to support organizations through consulting and learning.

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About Social Current

Social Current is the premier partner and solutions provider to a diverse network of human and social service organizations. We offer a range of innovative solutions through COA Accreditation, consultation, impact partnerships, knowledge curation and dissemination, learning collaboratives, networking, public policy advocacy and mobilization, and trainings.