Learning more about national observances and holidays will provide individuals, organizations and communities opportunities to improve the lives of others and generate goodwill. Today we will focus on the Martin Luther King Day of Service.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a federal holiday in the U.S. honoring the life and legacy and marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The holiday is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of Dr. King’s birthday, January 15.
The campaign for a federal holiday in Dr. King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.
A Day of Service
In 1994, Representatives John Lewis and Harris Wofford (both veterans of the Civil Rights movement and former friends of Dr. King) introduced a bill to turn Martin Luther King day into a day of service.There is a common misconception that because MLK day is a holiday, it is a day to take off. The goal of their bill was to highlight that it is a day to become active and keep the dream of Dr. King alive.
We can continue the work that Dr. Kung started in the 1960s. Examples include volunteering in your community, helping those less fortunate, volunteering in literacy programs, teaching about entrepreneurship, donating to local food banks, helping communities learn about nutrition and health awareness and more.
For volunteer activities in your community, check this MLK Day website for information on the day, and information on volunteerism. You can enter your zip code and find a list of local activities to participate all year long.
Don’t Know much about Dr. King?
Dr. King was was a pastor, activist, humanitarian and chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested against racial discrimination in federal and state law. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. Dr. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.
On October 14, 1964, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he and the SCLC helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery march as part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement. This led to the passage that year of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark federal achievement of the 1960s that enabled black American citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
In the final years of his life, Dr. King expanded his focus to include poverty and he spoke out against the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled “Beyond Vietnam”.
There are many holidays and observances where custom apparel is used to shine the spotlight on volunteer activities. Custom apparel provides a uniform look for volunteers, and when worn during events, they help to spread the word to anyone who would like to learn more, donate or join in.
When companies work with nonprofits to sponsor activities, they go a long eay to generate goodwill and build a solid reputation in the communoty. Use our Reminder Service to stay up to date on holidays and observances all year long.