Five Ways to Service Others During Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Did you know that Monday, January 17 is not only a holiday recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy but also a commemoration of his birthday and a national day of service? In 1994, Congress designated the federal holiday as a national day of service to honor the civil rights leader’s legacy.

During Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, People across the country will take part in volunteer and community service projects. Below are a few ways you can get involved and learn more about Dr. King and his work to advance civil rights while making an impact in your own community. 

1. Volunteer to serve a community in need.
Underprivileged and underrepresented groups exist in every community. Simple actions can make all of the difference for these groups and is a way for everyone to get involved. Find a group of underprivileged or underrepresented people in your area and find a way you can help. Even one person can make a difference. ( Start Here)  

2. Research and read the historical (and present day) challenges Dr. King faced. 
Dr. King fought for equity for his people in a country where they were treated as second-class citizens and paid for it with his life. His work to get equitable protections into law led to the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, two laws that have had a significant impact on racial equity in the United States. The Jon Lewis Voting Rights Act, created to re-strengthen the original Voting Rights Act of 1965, is currently in the US Senate and is on example of how King’s fight continues to this day .

Great books to begin with:
3. Donate to a local or national organization that fights for racial equity and justice.
Without knowing where to start, attempting to aid the fight for racial equity and justice may seem daunting. Luckily, there are organizations dedicated to that very fight. Organizations like the NAACP, ACLU, KIND, Black Lives Matter and many more work on both a national and local level to ensure equity and justice belongs to every individual regardless of the color of their skin.

4. Attend a MLK Jr. Celebration, Parade, Event, etc. 
Following Ronald Reagan signing into law the creation of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday in 1983, there have been many official celebrations to mark the date. Nearly all major cities around the United States host some sort of celebratory event to honor the life and work of Dr. King. Check your local area to see when and where the nearest event is happening this year and take part in the celebration of a true pioneer. (Please follow your area’s COVID mitigation recommendations when attending events.)

5. Watch a film on King’s Life and hold a moderated discussion on the implications of his life, death and legacy. 
There are many movies and documentaries that represent crucial moments in Dr. King’s fight for racial justice as well as his life. For those looking for movies, the film The Boy King highlights Dr. King’s childhood, Boycott represents the discrimination on public transportation that eventually led to the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, and Selma is an award-winning film primarily focused on the eponymous 1965 Selma to Montgomery, Alabama voting marches. In terms of documentaries, King in the Wilderness offers a raw portrayal of Dr. King, while I Am MLK Jr. allows for different perspectives that illustrate why he is still so relevant. Watching any of these films can allow you to more accurately understand the different fights Dr. King went through in various parts of his life and the legacy he still leaves today.