Make MLK Day a Day On, Not a Day Off
January 18, 2009
During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 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 by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live, creating the Beloved Community.
The King Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and teachings into community service that helps solve social problems. That service may meet a tangible need, such as fixing up a school or senior center, or it may meet a need of the spirit, such as building a sense of community or mutual responsibility. On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through service projects that:
Dr. King recognized the power of service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. Through his words and example, Dr. King challenged individuals to take action and lift up their neighbors and communities through service.
Dr. King believed each individual possessed the power to lift himself or herself up no matter what his or her circumstances – rich or poor, black or white, man or woman. Whether teaching literacy skills, helping an older adult surf the Web, or helping an individual build the skills they need to acquire a job, acts of service can help others improve their own lives while doing so much for those who serve, as well.
In his fight for civil rights, Dr. King inspired Americans to think beyond themselves, look past differences, and work toward equality. Serving side by side, community service bridges barriers between people and teaches us that in the end, we are more alike than we are different.
These ideas of unity, purpose, and the great things that can happen when we work together toward a common goal – are just some of the many reasons we honor Dr. King through service on this special holiday.