Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not just a holiday to me; it’s a day for service. While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rose to fame as an instrumental leader during the Civil Rights Movement, he dedicated his life to improving the welfare of ALL people. Dr. King became an activist to make sure that everyone, no matter their skin color, would be treated equally with dignity and respect. This day should be an important observance for all.
In honor of Dr. King and his tireless efforts to improve communities across the nation, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act in 1983 designating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a federal holiday and as a National Day of Service. On the third Monday in January each year, many people nationwide choose to participate in service projects and parades to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King. I believe Savannah, GA, where one of the TMX Finance® Family of Companies corporate offices is located, is home to one of the largest MLK Jr. Day parades on the East Coast. With Martin Luther King, Jr. born in Atlanta, he frequently spent time in Georgia as well as the South Carolina Lowcountry at the Penn Center on St. Helena Island. If you’re short on time, the best way to honor Dr. King and his work during the Civil Rights Movement is to read and research about it! Not only can you find several articles, flyers, pictures, and recordings of his time on the Internet, but you can also find them in your local community at a public library. You may even be able to ask a relative, as many of us were children or teenagers during the 1950s and 60s.
If you’re dedicated to serving your local community and want to honor Dr. King this month or year-round, here are several ways you can serve:
- Partner with a local homeless shelter to deliver meals or just volunteer there
- Pack food items at your local food bank
- Make a donation to an organization that supports your community
- Participate in activities with the elderly at assisted living and nursing homes
- Volunteer to mentor children or read a book about Dr. King or the Civil Rights Movement to elementary school children (for a list of age-appropriate books, click here!)
- Help in building homes for people in need (Habitat for Humanity is a great partner!)
My list could go on and on, but the theme is to get out in your community and serve. I believe that in order for our local communities to thrive, we must be dedicated to making it happen. If you are not already, become an activist and work improve your community for everyone, just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did.