Goodness Report

How To Honor Dr. King’s Legacy This Holiday

January 12, 2023

For this edition of the Goodness Report, we asked our Strategic DEI&B Partner, Chance Patterson, how to honor Dr. King’s legacy this holiday. Chance serves as a Strategic Advisor to the CEO at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and is dedicated to empowering leaders to cultivate inclusive workplaces.

Below is an edited transcript from a conversation with Chance discussing the King Holiday. 

More Than A Great Orator

I think it’s fantastic that we have a federal holiday dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and that new generations are familiar with his speeches and famous quotes. But I think it’s important to understand that he was much more than a great orator. Dr. King had a very sophisticated philosophy and methodology around nonviolence which he rooted in curiosity, listening, engagement and belonging – all of which are core aspects of modern-day Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs companies are investing in today.

He used this philosophy to affect major social, political and cultural changes. Many of the changes around voting, housing, and civil rights in general are the biggest ones we’ve seen in our country over the last 60 years. And the best part is that his philosophy and methodology around nonviolence is more relevant today than ever before and can be included as a part of DEI training in the workplace to help us become more mindful and self-aware of how we think, behave and speak with one another.

The First Steps

King talked about the first steps of nonviolence being education, information gathering, and research. Nonviolence begins with curiosity. If we can be more curious and get out of our own perspective and truly listen, we can begin to understand others. This foundation of curiosity and care for others creates change.

The Study Of Nonviolence

The study of nonviolence is something that The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change does exceptionally well. Coretta Scott King founded the King Center in 1968, just months after her husband was assassinated. She not only made a destination with the artifacts, papers and works of her husband but built a curriculum around nonviolence that anyone can study and apply in their own life, in their own workplace, or society. 

Applying Kingian Philosophy

The approaches that he created and the King Center preserved can help strengthen DEI training in the workplace while giving us tools to better navigate conflict in any environment. By following the principles of Kingian nonviolence organizations can foster a culture of belonging and inclusion that leads to a more united and successful company. 

Honoring Dr. King’s Legacy

This is what I hope for people to understand and be curious about. On the King holiday, we understand that he was a once in a lifetime speaker, an unbelievably effective preacher and orator. But this is a man who was well-studied. Gandhi and so many others influenced the development of Kingian nonviolence and it’s something that’s accessible to you today. You can actually apply it in your own life and I think it is just as impactful as ever before.

To learn more about Kingian nonviolence, available workplace trainings and The King Center’s most recent announcement of their abbreviated DEI training, Nonviolence365 (NV365) Online Workplace Edition, visit thekingcenterinstitute.org

Interested in having a conversation about DEI&B with Chance Patterson & the Idea Hall team? Reach out to chancep@ideahall.com to schedule a meeting today.

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