January 20 marks the official observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. While many may not realize it, Martin Luther King Jr. day is a national holiday. Last year, I wrote about the lessons that I have learned from his life and legacy.
This year, I thought about how I might be able to use those lessons and share them with Care2 readers. Not only is it Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but it also happens to be a new year; a time when many people make resolutions about improving their own lives. Why not combine the two and improve the lives of others along with your own.
To begin with, actually observe the holiday. While many governmental, non-profit organizations, and schools are closed and even offer the day as a paid holiday, many more businesses are open and do not offer a paid holiday. If you can afford to and really want to honor Dr. King’s legacy, take the day off from work and do something in observance. I can think of no better way to honor him than by actually observing his birthday as the national holiday that it is.
Here are some ideas on how you can do that.
One of his lessons was to always help others. Do something for someone else. It doesn’t have to be a big thing or too time consuming, just do something; take food to a nearby food bank, go and visit some home bound seniors and help them with chores or errands or even take the time to just talk and listen to their stories. Or, take part in an organized event as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service by searching for a project here and find one near you.
Teach somebody who doesn’t know about Dr. King’s legacy and great work by sharing stories of what he did. If these are kids, read them stories, show them movies, or take them to an MLK day parade or other celebratory even that might be going on in your area.
Plant something or nurture something. In addition to seeking social and economic justice for all, Dr. King advocated for environmental justice and worked on urban environmental and public health issues that were so prevalent in urban areas. While you can certainly get involved in an organized planting or cleanup project, you can also beautify your own environment or part of your local community in his honor. Not only by planting flowers, but by planting healthy food, or nurturing a neglected garden.
Another important lesson I wrote about last year was to never give up on your dreams. On a more personal level, think about this: what are you doing to make your own dream happen? Take the holiday to work on your own dreams. Make a step-by-step plan, break it into small and doable steps and take the first step on this day.
What will you do on this MLK Day? Share your ideas and activities with other Care2 readers.