Should Martin Luther King Jr.’s Name Be Used For Profit? (OP-ED)

By: Miya Jones
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Should Martin Luther King Jr.’s Name Be Used For Profit? (OP-ED)

Today for the 33rd year, we’ve celebrated the life and legacy of one of the most influential leaders of our time nationally on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is a day where we reflect on King’s life and work. However, a DM made me question the use of the holiday by some people.

I received a direct message on Instagram from Black-Owned Long Island in which a circle was drawn around a headline. It read, “Martin Luther King Jr. Day Promotion Terrarium Building Workshop: $29.00 including tax”. Black-Owned Long Island also posed the question, “Should companies be encouraged to use MLK Day of service to drive sales?”

Should Martin Luther King Jr.'s Name Be Used For Profit? (OP-ED)
Should Martin Luther King Jr.'s Name Be Used For Profit? (OP-ED)

Something about a MLK terrarium promotion just doesn’t sound right. Using the name of a Civil Rights icon for profit when that profit does nothing to honor Dr. King and his work, is wrong. A 50% off MLK sale at Macy’s does nothing for what Dr. King fought and was assassinated for. It’s insulting.

However, not all businesses are at fault for charging services in the name of Dr. King. The Long Island Children’s Museum, for example, charges participants $4 to enter the museum and join a session where they learn about Martin Luther King’s work and create a painting in honor of him. The museum has a purpose that commemorates the late great Dr. King and they charge a small fee.

The holiday has been diluted for the benefit of sales and a three-day weekend. But, there are organizations and businesses that are doing good work in the community in honor of Dr. King like the Long Island Children’s Museum. There is nothing wrong with making a profit during MLK Day, but how much a business charges, what they provide in exchange for that charge and how it uplifts the community is what makes a big difference.

Miya Jones

Miya Jones

Miya Jones is a Long Island native and the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Shades of Long Island. She's been a journalist since the age of 17 and is a diversity advocate. Follow Miya on Instagram and Twitter: @miyajones1996 and on Facebook as Miya Jones.

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