For those of us born after the death of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., we know him only through history books. He is the man who not only fought for the civil rights of African Americans, but also preached about empowerment, love, peace, and fighting poverty.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in equality and freedom for all individuals. Applying a standard of nonviolence, he dreamed we could come together to help solve social problems. The principles he championed cross color barriers, and for this reason we should not view MLK Day as only an “African-American holiday.”
Each year the government honors Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. with a federal holiday in January. Some people may view MLK Day as just a day off work, but whether you’re African American or not, the significance of this day resonates to all, and everyone can participate.
Taking place the third Monday of every January, this year MLK Day falls on January 21. The holiday was created to honor the legacy of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. through service, with the intention that people will have a “day on” helping others versus a “day off.” The government states that on this day “Americans…celebrate Dr. King through service projects that strengthen communities, empower individuals, bridge barriers, and create solutions.”
Volunteers of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can participate on this day of service. Find a project in your area by simply inputting your city, state or zip code at mlkday.gov/serve. There are plenty of projects for volunteers; typing in “New York” brought up 49 opportunities ranging from a day of meal prep at Coney Island to helping kids with crafts.
So for this year’s MLK Day, make it more than just a day off from work. Find volunteer opportunities for the entire family. It’s a great way to teach kids the value of helping others while remembering the spirit of a great leader.
Tell us how you plan to celebrate MLK Day in the comments!