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Tuesday Tip: Make MLK Day a “day on,” not a day off

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday, Jan. 21. Encouragingly, the day is growing in recognition, with about 42 percent of U.S. businesses now giving workers the day off, which is more than give Presidents Day. Also encouraging is the fact that more and more of those who do get the day off spend it as a “day on,” volunteering in their community and serving others.

This is a trend that is very much needed in our nation now, because the progressive ideals that Dr. King fought for – racial justice, civil rights, economic equality, nonviolence – need defending. Hate crimes are rising sharply. Income inequality continues to grow. Immigrant children are being separated from their parents and locked in cages. Donald Trump continues to sow fear and racial division to inflame his base and feed his ego.

Our country can be better than this. And you can help. You can volunteer on January 21 and show your support for Dr. King’s legacy. He lived – and died – building a movement for change and improving the lives of others. As he told an audience in Montgomery, Alabama in 1957, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”

What you can do is serve, even if only for a day. Spend MLK Day painting a school or delivering meals or building a home. Find a volunteer opportunity and help your neighbors, strengthen your community, bridge barriers and empower solutions to social problems.

To find a volunteer opportunity near you or get support for your project, try the search tool at the MLK Day of Service website.

As Coretta Scott King wrote in her essay “The Meaning of the King Holiday,” “His voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible.”

Every January 21, we can all follow in his footsteps. We can spend a day in service, live the values that Dr. King lived, and lift our nation a little closer to the ideals that he worked for.

2 Comments on “Tuesday Tip: Make MLK Day a “day on,” not a day off

  1. What would Martin do? It is easy to imagine that a national day of unity and service to benefit the disenfranchised, the homeless, the poverty-stricken would be his preference for honoring his legacy and his remarkable leadership on the anniversary of his birth. That is exactly what Dr. King was doing on the day on which he was assassinated. Rev. David Connor, VT

  2. Frankly Dr. Martin Luther King was a great American patriot that lived and worked for all of us. The King’s legacy it’s the racial justice, economic equality,and non-violence -need defending this principles. He was the architect of the famous and just American Dream.

    In reality at this time we are facing a crisis of credibility and honesty in our White House and part of the U.S. Congress with majority of the Republican party. Remember every body that we have a tripartition of powers in our government. The Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches. It’s necessary to active the system of Check and Balances of the government powers in order to maintain the democracy and freedoms healthy every time.

    The United States of America needs rebuild their foreign relations with observance to the International Laws as the Viena Convention on diplomatic relations and others normative of the United Nations, because we are in a world globalized and need the good will with friends and no-friends too in order to maintain the peace and never the war.


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