“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a civil rights leader whose actions sparked a national movement. The 13 years he dedicated to civil rights activities ignited concern and conscience within our country’s citizens. His courage and selfless devotion were undeniable, and for this his legacy continues to inspire Points of Light and volunteers around the world.
Just four days after the assassination of the civil rights icon, legislation was proposed to make his birthday an official holiday. It took nearly 20 years and countless politicians to gather enough public support to receive Congressional support, and the day was first officially observed in 1986.
During his lifetime Dr. King worked tirelessly toward a dream of equality. He believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps solve problems. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day programs meet tangible needs, such as revitalizing schools and feeding the homeless; but also build a sense of community and mutual responsibility by spurring conversation. On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through volunteering and unite to strengthen communities, empower individuals, and bridge barriers.
There are many ways to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in your community, whether you’re leading a local nonprofit, organizing an event with your family or an elementary school student looking to make a difference.
Inspired by the legacy of Dr. King, America’s Sunday Supper invites people from diverse backgrounds to come together and share a meal, discuss issues that affect their community and highlight the power each one of us has to make a difference. These family and community suppers unite individuals for dinner and dialogue in the restaurants, coffee shops, community centers, faith-based organizations, and homes across the country. Leading up to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, individuals will participate in a community-by-community, nationwide conversation about our country’s most pressing social issues related to hunger, homelessness, and poverty.
When individuals reach across differences in economic, ethnic, racial, and religious identities, meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with neighbors can occur. A sense of community is gained by neighbors working together on projects, resulting in stronger civic engagement and bringing us all closer to Dr. King’s legacy.
How will you honor Dr. King with your service this upcoming MLK Day? Let us know in the comments below!