Last month, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday, that only some got to enjoy. Next week America will "celebrate" a totally different federal holiday, that kind of makes no sense in modern day America good ol' Presidents' Day. So here are some fun facts about it:
- "Presidents' Day" was first celebrated as "Washington's Birthday" in 1800 after President Washington died in 1799
- The holiday was originally celebrated on February 22, President Washington's actual birthday
- The day changed from President Washington's actual birthday to the third Monday of February with the Uniform Holiday Act in the 1960s creating more long weekends and reducing employee absenteeism
- This placement made it easier to celebrate the legacies of "all" presidents focusing on Washington and Lincoln who's birthdays fall in the surrounding days
- President Washington had slaves since he was 11
Here's the thing, presidents are a part of our history I get that, but I've recently been reminded of a few businesses (see conversation below) and schools that do observe this holiday but do not observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is 2017! How are you not celebrating both or the less shady one of these (Presidents' Day I'm looking at you)?
This shows that some companies still don't get it. They give half days on Friday and all day off on Monday for federal holidays like Presidents' Day, but don't give Martin Luther King Jr. Day at all. A day and a half? Do you know how hard it was to get that day as a national holiday?! No, let me explain.
A bill for Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first proposed in 1968 four days after Dr. King was assassinated. It took 15 years of multiple petitions signed by millions of people, multiple testimonies by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and Stevie Wonder to the have the bill reluctantly signed by President Reagan.
So, CEOs of large companies of America, who shamefully are already stingy with time off (a talk for another day), if you want to give people days off, maybe you should think of the non racist and non religious model because honestly, that's what PTO is for.