Engaging with Cultural Holidays: January & February 2024

By Chatashia Brown, Manager, Diversity, Equity & Community Engagement

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, observed on the third Monday of January, marks the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. He was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations, facilities, and employment, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The holiday promotes equal rights for all Americans and is marked by education about the work of Martin Luther King Jr., the struggle against racial segregation and racism, and as well as community service.

Best Practices for Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Workplace

      • Invest in DEI Training and Efforts
            • DEI training, conversations, and resources are all great ways to celebrate MLK Day in the workplace. Although this can and should be offered year-round, the holiday serves as a great opportunity to share your corporate values with employees and consumers.
      • Encourage or Offer Service Opportunities
            • If your organization gives employees paid time off to volunteer, or organizes volunteer activities during work hours, remind employees of those opportunities. Read more about how companies can celebrate MLK Day
      • Educate Yourself and Others about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement
            • Learn more about Dr. King’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, MLK Day, its history, and its present-day manifestation. You can find books and speeches written by Dr. King here: Books & Bibliography – The King Center


Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays celebrated among Eastern and Southeastern Asian Cultures, including in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean communities. Tied to the lunar calendar, the New Year typically begins with the first new moon that occurs after/near the end of January and spans the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar—until the full moon arrives. Those celebrating consider it the time of the year to reunite with family. Some host religious ceremonies honoring ancestors. Family members may receive red envelopes containing money. Dances, fireworks, lantern festivals, and traditional foods are also prevalent throughout the celebrations.

Best Practices for Celebrating Lunar New Year in the Workplace

      • How we speak about cultural celebrations matters
          • Lunar New Year is not just a Chinese holiday but is celebrated by many countries that speak different languages and are of different ethnicities. Using the phrase “Lunar New Year” rather than “Chinese New Year” is more inclusive of the vast ethnicities and cultures that celebrate the holiday.
      • Respect the diversity of traditions and customs
          • Lunar New Year is celebrated differently by different groups of people, which means not everyone follows the same rituals or beliefs. Additionally, not all Asian people celebrate the holiday or recognize the zodiac. It is important to recognize the diversity within ethnic and cultural groups rather than treating them as a monolith.
      • Incorporate Asian designers, vendors, and partners in your efforts.
          • With COVID-19 impacting small businesses, especially Asian-owned businesses, Lunar New Year is a great time for companies to partner with Asian-owned businesses to help create economic opportunities for Asian business owners. Read more from Kanarys on how to celebrate the Lunar New Year in the workplace.


Black History Month

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. During this month, we reflect on more than 400 years of Black history in the U.S. and pay tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled to achieve full citizenship in American society.

According to the 2022 American Community Survey, the Black or African American population in DFW represents 16.3% of the total population, or 18.2% if combined with one or more other races. The Black or African American labor force participation rate is slightly higher than the average with a labor force participation rate of 70.7%, compared to the average of 69.5%. Despite a strong labor force participation, The Black/African American community faces a higher unemployment rate of 6.3%, compared to the average of 3.8%. According to the 2021 Annual Business Survey, 3.5% of the employer firms in DFW are owned by Black or African American entrepreneurs.

Best Practices for Celebrating Black History Month in the Workplace

      • Celebrate Black History Month with everyone
            • Black History Month is a great time to organize events and activities that highlight the diversity and richness of Black culture, such as book clubs, film screenings, panel discussions, or art exhibits. These events and activities should be widely advertised to all employees, regardless of their race or ethnicity, to foster a culture of inclusion, respect, and appreciation for the humanity, culture, and complex individuality of the Black community.
      • Direct resources to Black-owned businesses
            • Organizations can support Black-owned businesses and organizations by purchasing their products or services, partnering with them, or donating to their causes. Featuring them on your website, social media, or newsletter can also amplify their visibility and impact. For a directory of Black-owned businesses, you can visit the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce’s website.
      • Read & Watch