The iconic leader of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a big believer in public service and helping others. It was during his 1957 speech in Montgomery, Alabama where he remarked: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'” Following Dr. King’s assassination, the U.S. government declared the third Monday of January a national holiday to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King and his accomplishments– and also as a call to action to support Dr. King’s beliefs in activism and help others.
With MLK Day quickly approaching, here are some meaningful ways to honor Martin Luther King Day.
Volunteer in Your Community
One of the first things that comes to mind when considering ways to honor Martin Luther King Day is volunteering your time to your local community or an organization that is important to you. Dr. King was an avid supporter of volunteerism and activism, and was famously quoted as saying, “everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” Show your greatness by serving your community in a variety of ways, such as: organizing or joining a neighborhood clean-up, volunteering to serve food at a local soup kitchen, or volunteering at an underprivileged school, hospital, church or senior center. You can also search for local volunteer opportunities on The Corporation for National and Community Service’s website at: https://www.nationalservice.gov.
Donate to a Worthy Cause
Unfortunately, not everyone gets Martin Luther King Day off from work, or maybe you simply do not have the spare time to volunteer. Making a monetary donation to a socially-conscious organization is a great way to give something back when you don’t necessarily have the ability to physically volunteer your time. Dr. King was one of the biggest proponents of social justice and civil rights, so making a donation to an organization in-line with those principles, such as the American Civil Liberties Union or the Black Lives Matter organization, is a great way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day. You can also donate to a nonprofit organization based in your community in order to make a more local impact. There is never a shortage of worthy causes to donate to.
Visit Significant MLK Monuments & Sites
Another way to honor Martin Luther King Day is to travel to important monuments and sites around the country associated with the Civil Rights icon. If you are able to travel to Washington D.C., the nation’s capital is home to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and is the location where Dr. King delivered his iconic “I have a dream” speech at the height of the Civil Rights Movement during the March on Washington in 1963. MLK’s birthplace, Atlanta, Georgia, is home to The King Center as well as the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park which features several significant landmarks related to Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. Visiting any of these destinations would be a great way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
However you decide to honor Martin Luther King Day this year, try to consider it a starting point to give back and serve your community for the rest of the year and beyond.