Honoring The Dream
Today, we celebrate, commemorate, and honor the life, legacy, and impact of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.
The day commemorates the life and work of Dr. King, who was a Baptist minister and prominent leader in the American civil rights movement. People are encouraged to use the day to “reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King.” The holiday is typically observed with events such as marches and rallies and speeches by politicians and civil rights leaders.
King was born on January 15, 1929. He rose to the fore of the civil rights movement in 1955 with the Montgomery bus boycott that followed the arrest of Rosa Parks, an African American woman who had violated the city’s racial segregation ordinances when she refused to give her seat on a bus to a white passenger. An advocate of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of using nonviolent resistance to effect social change, King promoted the use of nonviolent means to bring an end to racial segregation in the United States. In 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts.
January: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Authority: Public Law 98-144; Public Law 98-399
The first observance of the Federal legal holiday honoring the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. was established on January 20, 1986. This holiday serves as time for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Martin Luther King, Jr.; and it is appropriate for the Federal Government to coordinate efforts with Americans of diverse backgrounds and with private organizations in the observance of the Federal legal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.
Special Emphasis Programs (SEP) are an integral part of the Equal Employment Opportunity and Civil Rights Program. The purpose of these programs is to ensure that agencies take affirmative steps to provide equal opportunity to minorities, women and people with disabilities in all areas of employment. The term, "Special Emphasis Programs," refers specifically to employment related programs which focus special attention on groups that are conspicuously absent or underrepresented in a specific occupational category or grade level in the agency's work force. These programs serve as a channel to management officials. The goals of the Special Emphasis Programs are to:
• Improve employment and advancement opportunities for minorities, women and people with disabilities in the Federal service;
• Identify systemic causes of discrimination against minorities, women and people with disabilities;
• Seek ways to help minorities, women and people with disabilities to advance by using their skills more fully;
• Monitor agency progress in eliminating discrimination and adverse impact on minorities, women and people with disabilities in employment and agency programs; and
• Educate Federal employees and managers about the extent of various forms of discrimination within the Federal Service.
Special observances were designed for the purpose of providing cultural awareness to everyone. Commemorative activities conducted for these observances should be educational and employment-related. Observances celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; African American Heritage; Women's History; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equal rights; Asian Pacific Americans; Women's Equality Day; Hispanic Americans; People with Disabilities; and American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage.