"A Day of Service" is proper tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.By Sam Johnson
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been
83 years old this Sunday, January 15th had he lived. He was assassinated on
April 14, 1968. He was only 39 years old when he was murdered.
As we prepare to commemorate "Martin Luther King, Jr. Day" this Monday, the day designated by our nation's government to remember the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., it is fitting that the focus be on "A National Day of Service," an idea that goes back to legislation passed by Congress in 1994 encouraging the King Federal Holiday to be observed in this way.
The Corporation for National Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency designated by Congress to lead this effort, and supports President Obama’s national call to service program, “United We Serve,” which asks all Americans to come together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.
Robert Velasco, acting CEO of CNCS, noted that "Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be.
"Now more than ever, we need to take heed of Dr. King's teachings, and work together to achieve his dream. Volunteer service is a powerful way to strengthen economic opportunity. And when better to start than on the day we honor Dr. King?"
Mr. Velasco added that CNCS is calling on all Americans to help make MLK Day a "day on, not a day off," and to that purpose has developed several signature initiatives, including a partnership with the Scholastic corporation to create and distribute MLK curriculum for grades 3-5.
CNCS is also working with a variety of nonprofit and community groups, faith-based organizations, schools and businesses nationwide to help Americans turn the MLK Day into a National Day of Service to make an impact in their communities.
Information on these programs, including details about local service opportunities, is available at their website: MLKDay.gov.
This year marks the 26th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday.
By making MLK Day a "Day of Service," we have an opportunity to join friends, neighbors, and local leaders to make a difference, no matter how big or small, whether it be delivering meals to seniors unable to cook for themselves, collecting food and clothing for local pantries, churches, or other groups that help provide support for those in need, or by volunteering in our local schools or libraries to read a book or share a story.
By making MLK Day a "Day of Service" we shine a spotlight on service as a powerful force to bridge economic and social divides – today and throughout the year -- and this is very much in keeping with most valuable lessons that the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us.
Dr. King told us that “what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up," and that by working together we can make a difference in the lives of others to help make sure “that people everywhere have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”
Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?' "
What a great question to ask ourselves this week as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.