Honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in a year like no other
Across the nation, communities will gather this month to celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Many events will be held virtually due to ongoing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 while vaccines become more available.
Observed on the third Monday of January each year, MLK Day encourages all Americans to volunteer and help improve their communities— “a day on, not a day off.”
At Regence, we honor King’s legacy not only through remembrance, but also through action. Each year our employees give their time and money in support of causes that reflect MLK’s important work. In 2020, this included employees donating $40,456 to racial justice organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Equal Justice Initiative and the ACLU, which includes a 50% match from our corporate foundation.
Recently, our BOLD (Black Organization for Leadership Development) Employee Resource Group also hosted a virtual picnic in King’s honor.
MLK Day in 2021: A time to serve, learn and give
At Regence, we like to say that giving back is in our DNA. This spirit of service is deeply embedded within our organization and reflected through our employees’ service in their communities.
If you want to serve
While service opportunities may look a little different this year, many of our employees will be participating in volunteer opportunities to honor MLK’s legacy. Here are a few opportunities available in the Pacific Northwest and Inland Northwest areas:
- YWCA of Lewiston Clarkston is hosting a virtual MLK day event that includes a conversation about the legacy of the civil rights movement, tips on promoting social equity, and ideas about how to volunteer during a pandemic.
- Idaho Foodbank is looking for in-person volunteers in Lewiston, Boise and Pocatello. The organization is taking proper precautions to keep volunteers safe, including smaller groups and required mask wearing.
- SOLVE is looking for volunteers to help with a Downtown Cleanup event on MLK Day to carry out Dr. King's vision of creating a "beloved city." Space is limited. Join the waitlist and get notified if an opening becomes available.
- Portland State University is hosting “MLK: Living the Legacy,” a series of online events honoring the legacy of Dr. King.
- Volunteers of America, Utah strives to “reach and uplift those in greatest need,” and is always looking for volunteers to provide meals, sort donations and mentor youth.
- United Way of Salt Lake has put together a list of volunteer opportunities to mentor youth across Utah. These are ongoing opportunities that for now can be done virtually.
- United Way of King Co. is inviting supporters to participate in two events: The annual MLK Day march through downtown Seattle, and a virtual panel discussion about how philanthropy can move racial equity forward.
- The Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Organizing Coalition, which organizes the MLK Day march, is also hosting online workshops during the week of Jan. 11, and is looking for volunteers to help with these virtual events.
- United Way of Pierce Co. created the MLK, Jr. Virtual Month of Service to encourage socially distanced acts of kindness, empathy and understanding. Those looking for a project to do at home, you can sign up now to provide hygiene kits for the homeless, send notes of encouragement to isolated older adults, donate blood, or join a 21-day equity challenge to receive a daily email about racial equity.
If you want to learn
Addressing systemic racism and discrimination requires continued education. Here are some of the resources our employees and leadership have found helpful:
- The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias, Dolly Chugh
- Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, Debby Irving
- Don’t Talk about Implicit Bias Without Talking about Structural Racism, Kathleen Osta and Hugh Vasquest, National Equity Project
- TED Talk: How to Deconstruct Racism, One Headline at a Time, Baratunde Thurston
- Does Racism Play a Role in Health Inequities, David R. Williams, Professor of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- TEDx RVA Women – The Power of Privilege, Tiffany Jana
If you want to give
Join us in supporting organizations working in our communities to promote racial justice and contribute to a more just, inclusive world. Our BOLD Employee Resource Group put together a list of 20 organizations advancing important work—many of which we’ve contributed to the past year and will continue to do so:
Regence is committed to advancing conversations around health disparities and addressing the inequities that exist within the health care system, through our partnership with the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us program and the investments we make in our communities.