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8+ Impactful Ways to Celebrate MLK Day at Work

Looking for impactful ways to celebrate MLK Day at work? Let Unexpected Virtual Tours and Training be your guide! Martin Luther King Jr. Day holds significance not only in our national calendar but also within the workplace.

The day serves as a poignant moment to actively engage in the ongoing pursuit of equality and justice. By embracing Dr. King’s principles through a range of activities, workplaces can go beyond symbolic observance. Rather, your teams can instill genuine values of diversity and inclusion in your workplace and community.

Read on to explore 8+ impactful ways to celebrate MLK Day at work for both in-person and remote teams!

Keep reading to learn impactful ways to celebrate MLK Day at work – including:

  • Organizing volunteer and community service opportunities
  • Facilitating educational events and interactive workshops
  • Hosting conversations on diversity and allyship
  • Moderating online workshops and webinars

In this post, you’ll find:

  • The historical and cultural impact of MLK Day
  • How to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the workplace
  • Engaging activities to implement with your work team
  • The answer to the question, “When is MLK Day?”
  • MLK day of service activity ideas for in-person and remote teams

The Historical and Cultural Impact of MLK Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed annually on the third Monday of January, commemorates the life and achievements of the iconic civil rights leader. The holiday was officially signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and first observed as a federal holiday on January 20, 1986. However, it wasn’t until 2000 that all 50 states officially recognized and observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

In 1994, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service was established as a way to honor Dr. King’s legacy through acts of community service and volunteerism. This initiative encourages individuals to dedicate the holiday as a “day on, not a day off,” promoting the values of equality, justice, and community engagement.

Dr. King’s influence extends far beyond the civil rights movement. His work impacted various aspects of modern society, including the workplace. Today, companies increasingly recognize the importance of fostering a diverse workforce and creating inclusive cultures that reflect Dr. King’s vision of a just and equal society.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the workplace serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and justice. By promoting activities that honor his legacy, organizations can inspire employee engagement and instill a sense of purpose and social responsibility.

Bring MLK Day to Life at Work

Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers a unique opportunity for learning, reflection, and personal growth. Rather than solely viewing it as a break, individuals can use this day to delve into the rich history and teachings of Dr. King. Furthermore, it’s a chance to educate ourselves about the ongoing struggle for civil rights and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done.

Moreover, MLK Day can serve as a catalyst for action within the workplace. Use the day to inspire individuals to actively contribute to creating a more inclusive environment. This day provides an avenue for personal and collective growth. It encourages individuals to go beyond mere observance and take meaningful steps towards building a workplace that exemplifies the ideals championed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Questions to Ask When Planning MLK Day Activities

MLK Jr. Statue

Teams and leaders should consider a few key insights when planning impactful MLK Day activities. Look to the following list to help guide your MLK Day planning:

  • How can our activities reflect the values of Dr. King?
  • What impact do we want to achieve?
  • What educational components can we include to foster awareness?
  • In what ways can our activities promote community engagement?
  • What discussions or forums can we facilitate to encourage dialogue?
  • What long-term goals can our MLK Day activities contribute toward?

Celebrating MLK Day: A Guide for Inclusive Activities

There are many possible ways to celebrate MLK Day in the workplace. Check out the following inclusive activities that are perfect for workplace teams to implement:

  • Organize a community service day, encouraging employees to participate in volunteer activities that align with the values of equality and justice.
  • Host a guest speaker, such as a historian or civil rights advocate, to provide insights into the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Facilitate diversity and inclusion training workshops to promote understanding and empathy among team members.
  • Conduct interactive workshops on allyship, exploring ways team members can actively support each other and promote inclusivity.
  • Arrange panel discussions featuring diverse voices within the organization to share personal experiences and perspectives on diversity and equality.

Volunteer Opportunities to Honor the MLK Day of Service

How to Celebrate MLK Day at Work Volunteer Opportunities

Another way as to how to celebrate MLK Day at work is volunteerism. Impactful volunteer activities include community clean-ups, home renovations for families in need, food drives, educational workshops, and support for the elderly or those without shelter. Embrace an MLK Day of Service with initiatives that reflect Dr. King’s commitments to community well-being, social justice, and equality.

Furthermore, the significance of volunteering lies not just in a day of serving, but in fostering ongoing community engagement. As a result, your team can continue to embody Dr. King’s vision of collective action for positive change throughout the entire year.

Partner with Local Communities – One of our favorite ideas for how to celebrate MLK Day at work!

Partnering with local communities for volunteer activities is crucial for fostering meaningful connections and ensuring your impact is relevant. Specific ways employees can contribute include:

  • Engaging in community clean-up initiatives to revitalize shared spaces.
  • Collaborating with local schools for educational workshops or tutoring sessions.
  • Supporting the elderly through activities like game nights or care packages.
  • Volunteering at local food banks or shelters to address immediate needs.

Educational Events and Workshops: Learning from Dr. King’s Legacy

How to Celebrate MLK Day at Work Workshops

In the workplace, diverse educational events and workshops promote awareness, understanding, and action on diversity and inclusion. Consider the following event ideas for your workplace:

  • Host guest speakers, like historians or civil rights advocates, to provide valuable insights into historical understanding.
  • Conduct diversity trainings covering topics such as unconscious biases, cultural competence, and inclusivity.
  • Create interactive panel discussions that encourage open dialogue for potentially uncomfortable but necessary conversations.
  • Facilitate storytelling workshops and multicultural celebrations to enhance cross-cultural understanding.

Host Conversations on Diversity and Allyship – One of our favorite ideas for how to celebrate MLK Day at work!

To organize workplace discussions on diversity and allyship, start by emphasizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings on equality and justice. Provide historical context and encourage reflection on how these principles resonate today.

Then, utilize interactive formats like panel discussions and workshops featuring diverse voices to share personal experiences. Emphasize allyship through practical strategies and create a safe space for uncomfortable conversations about sensitive topics. To conclude, outline tangible steps for collective action to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. 

MLK Day Celebrations in a Remote Setting

How to Celebrate MLK Day at Work Virtual Employee Workshops

Adapting MLK Day celebrations to a virtual setting is a must for remote and hybrid teams. Organizations with remote workforces can leverage various online platforms for team-building activities and educational sessions, including:

Interactive Sessions

Collaborative online events can foster a sense of shared purpose between employees. Check out this MLK Day virtual team building event for your team. This live, interactive experience, offered only during January, is a unique celebration of African American and Civil Rights history and shares how the legacy of Dr. King changed the world.

Reach out below to learn more and book your MLK Day virtual team building session:

Documentaries & Videos

Spend time watching and discussing a meaningful documentary or videos with your team. Using your preferred video call technology, you can all watch together and use the chat box to share thoughts.

To get started, browse the Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training YouTube page. You’ll find a library of videos on DEI workplace topics including how to have difficult conversations in the workplace, the importance of allyship, Black History Month ideas for work, and more.


Educational sessions can feature guest speakers discussing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and relevance today. Look to host a local or national figure for your employees to engage with and learn from.

Incorporate Black History Month into MLK Day Celebrations

Black History Month Figures March on Washington

MLK Day and Black History Month in February are interconnected opportunities to honor Black leaders and promote awareness. To extend the celebration beyond a day, seamlessly transition from MLK Day into Black History Month. Look to incorporate continuous learning initiatives, discussions, and team-building activities like Unexpected Virtual Tours and Training’s Black History Month team building event!

This meaningful virtual experience shares the incredible story of Dr. Carter Woodson (the founder of Black History Month), a virtual tour of sites important to the Civil Rights movement, and 100% Black-owned small businesses featured in Treat Boxes shipped to your team members.

Another great option: our Good Trouble Virtual Tour. This virtual team building experience celebrates the life of John Lewis and shares the story of Black resistance through mass action from the 1500s through the present day.

Motivate and Educate with Inspiring Quotes from Black History – One of our favorite ideas for how to celebrate MLK Day at work!

Inspire and educate your team with these Black History Month quotes for the workplace:

  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” – Frederick Douglass
  • “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” – Shirley Chisholm

Looking for more? Dive into 28+ impactful Black History Month quotes that can be shared in the workplace.

Make Every Day a Day to Celebrate MLK’s Legacy

Unexpected Virtual Tours and Training

Remember that the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy goes beyond specific days or months—it’s a commitment to fostering equality every day at work. By integrating virtual celebrations, educational events, and team-building activities, we can sustain this spirit throughout the year.

Reflect on and implement these practices in your daily work lives, creating workplaces that champion diversity, understanding, and justice. By embodying these values, we can actively contribute to a workplace culture aligned with the ideals Dr. King passionately advocated.

To deepen your understanding and commitment to DEI, consider exploring more resources and activities from Unexpected Virtual Tours and Training. Our top-rated programs and training sessions are loved by organizations, nonprofits, and corporations such as Google, SalesForce, The Home Depot, and many others!