As many of us know, the third Monday in January is the federal holiday known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. MLK Day is more than just a day off from work and school. The Corporation for National and Community Service has referred to the holiday as “a day on, not a day off.”
In 1983 legisltion was passed to mark Dr. King’s birthday as a federal holiday. It wasn’t until 1994 that MLK Day was designated by congress as a national day of service. The Corporation for National and Community Service has hosted the holiday ever since with the desire to get as many Americans on board to lending a hand to those in need.
What better a way to pay homage to a man who dedicated his life to the vision of all walks of life living in harmony than to volunteer in your community. As we know, Dr. King was one of the most prominent figures of the Civil Right’s Movement. In conjunction to being the voice for oppressed minorities, Dr. King made great strides in bringing people of all races, religions, and colors together to bridge differences. Forming close-nit communitites was his way to make peace among mankind more attainable.
Our community is far from perfect, but a few steps taken by those who have the time and resources to spare can go a long way. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t take a holiday to make a positive impact in society. Volunteers are needed every day of the year at organizations that hundreds of less-fortunate Philadelphians depend on for survival.
Dr. King believed that “life’s most persistant and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’.” He saw community involvement not as a burdening service, but as an obligation and privilege every member of society is responsible for performing.
For those who did not have the opportunity to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive by volunteering on January 18th, there are countless opportunities with organizations throughout the Philadelphia region. Volunteer.phila.gov is a great website that lists local organizations that are in need of volunteers. Giving back to the community is a great way to create small ripples of positivity that will one day result in major positive changes.