Celebrating MLK Day: A Day of Service and Action
On January 17, people throughout the United States celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy of public service, championing of civil rights, and commitment to the practice of nonviolent philosophies and methodologies to advocate on behalf of the marginalized in order to create a more equitable and peaceful world. But Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not only a day that we observe or reflect on, it is a day of action, a day where we heed the call to service and recommit ourselves to the work of making our communities better.
Dr. King, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929, led the modern American Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination on April 4, 1968. He advocated for racial equity and worked to dismantle the laws and systems that discriminate against people of color in the US. And at the heart of his work was his commitment to service. He considered service to others to be the “new definition of greatness.” Dr. King declared that “by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” That’s why each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Americans from across the country engage in projects of service to uplift those in need, advocate for justice, and work to make a positive impact on their greater communities. Whether it is advocating for Voting Rights, delivering meals or visiting with neighbors in need, volunteering at a local school, dedicating time to collect food or supplies for those affected by natural disasters, there are many ways to get involved on MLK Day and throughout the year to uplift his legacy of advancing equity, social justice, and economic opportunity for all.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved on MLK Day, here are just a handful of the many resources out there to help you find service opportunities in your community, to engage in crucial conversation about social justice, and to celebrate the life of Dr. King:
The King Center, founded by Coretta Scott King, is a leading organization dedicated to empowering people through Dr. King’s teachings to create a more humane and equitable world. The King Center is hosting a series of virtual events and community service projects in celebration of MLK Day.
AmeriCorps is hosting an array of service opportunities for those looking to celebrate MLK Day. They also have resources for how to find local volunteer opportunities; ways to address critical issues such as food insecurity, assistance to refugees, and/or restoring community spaces; as well as resources for how to host dialogues about Dr. King’s life and teachings.
During MLK Day weekend, National Urban League will be mobilizing people across the country to learn, get involved, and advocate for Voting Rights Legislation. Additionally, there are many opportunities and events on MLK Day that are being hosted by the National Urban League’s affiliates across the country. You can find your local affiliate here and discover opportunities to get involved as well as learn about what other communities are doing to commemorate MLK Day.
Teach for America (TFA) hosts an excellent list of resources for how to volunteer your time, either in person or virtually, to celebrate MLK Day and learn more about Dr. King’s legacy as well as opportunities to take action to advocate for Voting Rights Legislation.
We hope you'll join us at Net Impact and Up to Us as we strive to make a positive impact for our world, and we encourage you to share in Dr. King’s legacy this weekend and throughout the year by getting involved and working to address an issue that matters to you and your community.