Make MLK a Day of Service

By Rick Garcia
As we gear into 2014 with a clean slate, many resolutions have been made to become healthier, happier and productive among family, co-workers and friends.  Why not include a resolution to help our fellow man or to improve our environment and community?
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”  Each year, the Corporation for National and Community Service honors Dr. King’s legacy by asking Americans to make the King Holiday a national day of service.
On January, 20, 2014, people of all ages and backgrounds will come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned. Dr. Martin Luther King devoted his life’s work to causes of equality and social justice. He taught that through nonviolence and service to one another, problems such as hunger and homelessness, prejudice and discrimination can be overcome. Dr. King’s teachings can continue to guide us in addressing our nation’s most pressing needs—poverty, economic insecurity, job loss and education.
Volunteer with Americans across the nation on the 2014 King Day of Service and make a real difference in your 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:
Strengthen Communities – 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.   
Empower Individuals – 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.   
Bridge Barriers – 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.
Bob Weir, Guitarist, Singer, founding member of the bands Grateful Dead and a Social Activist said one can easily boil MLK’s basic message down to this:  If enough people individually decide that they want a society where everyone benefits by everyone else’s actions, then it will happen.  I share this dream.  Dr. King said: “Mine eyes have seen the Glory.” And if you care to look, you will see and do…
Rick Garcia, a nonprofit executive, a civil rights advocate, blogger and a contributing writer for The New Citizens Press can be reached at [email protected]
This was printed in the January 12, 2014 – January 25, 2014 edition.