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More businesses pay deference to Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A new survey indicates that a considerably large percentage of businesses throughout the country will be closed on a day that commemorates a great man who was a stalwart advocate for civil rights for all people.

According to a recent poll conducted by Bloomberg, approximately one in every three business will pay their respects to Martin Luther King, Jr. by providing their workers with a paid holiday on the day of his birth. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is January 21.

Bloomberg says that the approximately 32 percent of employers that intend to make January 21 a holiday is slightly more than how many did this in 2011, when around 30 percent of companies gave their workers paid time off. This has been an ongoing trend for the past decade. For example, in the 1990s, around 20 percent of employers – one in every five – gave their workers the day off.

But companies today are doing more in memory of Dr. King than simply giving their employees extra time at home to spend with their families or to relax. A fairly sizeable percentage of employers say that they will also hold some type of event that commemorates Dr. King’s accomplishments, whether it’s through holding a discussion group, establishing a memorial celebration, setting up a volunteer service project or sending out information about Dr. King’s career and life via email.

MLK Day long recognized as day of remembrance

Though a slightly higher percentage of companies give their employees time off for Dr. King’s birthday than several decades ago, the overwhelming majority of them that do so have had this policy since the 1990s. Bloomberg says that approximately 60 percent of employers had established Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday before the year 2000.

Whether companies give their employees time off on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or not, few would deny that he did a tremendous amount of good for African-Americans. But he’s also described as someone who helped advocate for immigrant rights as well.

Harvey Clemons, a religious leader from Houston, Texas, recently described how he helped fights for immigrants.

“Immigration is about human dignity and the nobility of parents of different tribes and nations facing the risk of coming to a foreign land, a land of opportunity, to work for a better tomorrow for their children,” Clemons wrote in a 2009 editorial. “Dr. King invoked the truth, the truth being that all humans ought to be treated with a certain dignity. It would be natural for us to look to him as an example for fighting for a just cause.”

Several immigration rights advocates have said that they believe Dr. King would be a fervent supporter of the DREAM Act, which is a piece of legislation that some lawmakers have supported, giving a greater number of unauthorized workers the ability to gain citizenship more easily.

Once many of these workers secure citizenship, they can focus on earning a living, as well as the ability to send money home, if need be.

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