Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day may be primarily an American holiday but it gives us the opportunity to celebrate the life of one the leading figures in the civil rights movement.

In this blog, Evlynne Opomu, Customer Service Centre Team Leader and a member of our BAME staff network, Origin, looks at what makes Martin Luther King Jr. such an inspirational leader.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream…’ speech, made following the historic march on Washington in August 1963 is considered to be one of the pivotal moments in the Civil rights movement.

Through his activism, he played a key role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honours, and continues to be remembered as one of the most influential and inspirational African-American leaders in history.

There are some individuals whose influence transcend their own lifetime, for me Martin Luther King Jr. is one such individual.

Even though Martin Luther King Jr. Day is primarily an American day of celebration, this day serves as a reminder of his legacy and philosophies worldwide.

On a personal level several things resonate for me – his courage, sense of fairness and pursuit of justice to bring about a level playing field of opportunity. Also it is a reminder of the importance of self-belief, to always strive to follow your own path which at times can be in the face of considerable opposition.