Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Not What it Used to Be
It’s important to remember that Martin Luther King Jr. led a movement that was results driven with little rest toward a vision of equality and justice to benefit everyone. In the spirit of King’s work, celebrating his birthday as a day of service to address the practical, environmental, and spiritual needs of our community makes every bit of sense.
In 1994, Congress designated Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a National Day of Service to recognize the legacy of King in a new and active way. It is often referred to as “a day on, not a day off,” and organizations around the country have since lead efforts on the Holiday to help Americans transform their communities for the better.
While we have had nearly two decades of service emphasis on his birthday recognition, it is only in more recent years that this thrust has gained enough public momentum to resonate with a critical mass. No longer can people dismiss the day as a “black holiday” – as a commitment to bettering our communities must be a universal value.
2010 was my very first day of official MLK Day of Service with my children, where we took part in a local coastal clean-up effort in Oakland, California with dozens of committed folks of all colors in pouring rain. I finished the day cold and tired, yet grateful to know my young children will grow up with the value of service intertwined with the King Holiday, and I am now glad for the ways Outdoor Afro can encourage this vision for others.
I urge you to find ways to get involved if you have never done so before. There are ways for all interests and abilities to take part. If you already have plans, then consider getting your children, neighbors, and other loved ones into the mix.
You’ll be glad for the ways you can make a difference.