2 Questions Nonprofit Board Members Should Consider on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Beyond

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, consider the following two questions:

  • Is social justice a core value of your organization and something you strive for in pursuit of advancing its mission?
  • Is your organization investing its resources consistent with its values in a meaningful way?

How to Be a Racial Justice Hero

Colorlines published a great article a few years back on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: How to Be a Racial Justice Hero, on MLK Day and All Year Long. In the article, the authors note that it’s a good time to reflect on how you can be part of some positive change in the year ahead and suggest asking one institution you routinely interact with one of the following questions:

  • Are the policies and practices, and their impacts, racially inclusive and fair?
  • Who are the stakeholders and how can they be engaged in making change?
  • What concrete equitable changes can you envision and propose?
  • How can you focus your collective power to influence the power-holders?
  • What purposeful action steps could lead to real change and when can you begin?

If you serve on the board of a nonprofit organization, these are great questions for you to consider and discuss with your fellow board members.

Core Values

If social justice isn’t an expressly stated core value of your organization or if your boards haven’t discussed the importance of formally identifying and communicating the organization’s core values, here are some iconic quotes to think about:

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

These discussions may result in difficult days determining what actions are right for your organizations, but by engaging in them, you’ll take your organizations and the communities they serve closer to the promised land.