Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: It starts with the power of one

graphic showing a smiling Natalye Paquin next to a photo collage and a quote from Dr. King

Jan 17, 2022 | Ashley Foster and Natalye Paquin

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dow ACTs (Advocacy, Community and Talent) was launched in 2020 and provides a strategic framework that outlines the set of actions Dow is taking to address systemic racism and racial injustice. As part of this work, we recognized MLK Day 2021 as an annual paid time off holiday in the U.S. for the first time ever.

To honor Dr. King on this day – we continue to ask employees to draw inspiration from one of his most famous quotes, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” With this sentiment, we are encouraging Team Dow to not just take this time “off”, but to make MLK Day a time “on” to reflect on events that have shaped our history and to give back to others through a day of service.

This year, to honor the life, legacy and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., GAAN invited Natalye Paquin from Points of Light for a courageous conversation on the attitudes, motivations and barriers to taking action in your own life to address the root cause of inequity.

Ashley: What is Points of Light, and why is MLK Day important to your organization?

Natalye: Points of Light is a global non-profit organization that inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that changes the world. We envision a world where every individual discovers the power to make a difference, creating healthy communities in vibrant, participatory societies. We’ve been partnering with companies for many years to help guide their employee engagement in the communities where they live and work. Today, I’m here to talk about the power of one and Dr. King’s inspiring belief that anyone can be great because anyone can serve.

Ashley: It feels like we are living through an incredibly challenging time. What can we do to meet the current moment?

Natalye: More so than ever before, we are living through a moment of change, led by the power of people, spurred by increased access to technology, and accelerated by a global pandemic and an uprising in response to systemic racism.

Through our research, we know there is a universal desire to do more in the future and help convert good intentions into positive action. We are seeing a significant shift in our culture. We are at the dawn of a “Civic Century,” an age when people become the driving force that transforms our world.

At this moment, we see our challenge as follows: How can we create a society where it is easy for every individual to take action and accelerate positive impact within their community and around the world?

Ashley: What can an individual do to take action against racial injustice and promote inclusivity?

Natalye: If you value inclusivity, diversity and equity, and want to stand with people taking action for a more just and equitable world – every action you take will matter. The important thing is to take the first step.

There is so much work to be done, and no one person can do it all. But we each can pick an issue area that we feel deeply about and use our Civic Circle as a framework to create lasting, meaningful change in that area. Doing good comes in many forms. Everyone has the power to lead, lend support and take action for causes you care about.

Ashley: How can companies support employees and catalyze the power of one?

Natalye: The power of one speaks to each individual. It’s about focusing on one issue, one idea, one aspect of something that you’ve heard or learned and taking that to its end and really putting your energy and resources into making that happen.

Companies can accelerate change. We see this through The Civic 50, which recognizes the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States each year, including Dow. Social impact, civic engagement and community are moving to the center of business.

We must be willing to listen and learn from each other. It requires thinking differently, having courageous conversations and investing in culture, such as Dow’s new Volunteer & ERG Participation Policy, creating systemic and sustainable change.

Promoting equity and inclusivity starting with our community to honor MLK Day

Today, employees worldwide will come together to safely engage in community and remote volunteer opportunities and service-based learning efforts that include:

We recognize the work is not done, and we will continue to work to address systemic racism and racial injustice. On MLK Day and every day, consider the attitudes and barriers in your life that stop you from taking action. Harness the power of one to know how to ACT.


Ashley Foster, Dow’s Employee Global African Affinity Network (GAAN)

Natalye Paquin, president and chief executive officer of Points of Light