Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – A Call to Action
On my drive to work today, I was thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I didn’t get the day off, you see, and internal disappointment rose with each mile I drove closer to work. To take my mind off my growing disappointment, I turned on the radio. During my morning commute, I frequently listen to the NPR program The Sound of Ideas, which airs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Sound of Ideas is a fantastic program featuring interesting, knowledgeable individuals who speak about issues and ideas emerging from within the Cleveland community to world-wide topics.
Today’s episode immediately piqued my interest. Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative spoke on the important, extremely relevant topic of racial inequality. Stevenson discussed many reasons why he believes our country functions the way it does today. I will not get into the nitty gritty of his discussion, but I do want to highlight one important point Stevenson made about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Many of us, myself included, get excited about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day because we see it as a day of celebration. We see this holiday as a day free from work, free from responsibilities. As a recent college graduate, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day used to excite me because it meant no classes, which ultimately meant a day to catch up on my favorite Netflix series.
Stevenson brought up the point that today is a day off from our normal routines, but it should not be viewed as a day off from responsibility entirely: today is “a call to action.” Stevenson’s comment made me think hard about the selfish reasons I’d been disappointed to not get this day off from work. My own naivety made me wonder if others know what today is truly about. If you are unaware how to properly acknowledge and reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, as I was, now’s the time to change the way you think about it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. dedicated his life to making our world a better place, and the best way we can honor him on this day is to see it not as a day off, but a day on. If you have today off, go out and do something important in your community. Volunteer, participate, lend a hand. You may be thinking to yourself, “there’s no opportunities to volunteer that I’m aware of”. Well, folks, thank goodness we live in the age of technology. It’s as easy as googling “volunteer opportunities in _____” whatever area is near or dear to you – you fill in the blank. The website http://www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday has a search bar, and all you have to do is type in your zip code to find volunteer service projects near you.
If you’re already planning on, or have already done some volunteer work in your community today, share your story on social media using #MLKDay. Let others know what you’ve done to help, and see what others have done for their “call to action” on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Don’t have time today to volunteer? Take some time this weekend! A few hours of volunteer work can mean a world of difference to an organization.
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