As we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., this year, we tap into a history of service in Massachusetts. Falling this year on January 20, the federal holiday has roots in our state: US Senator Edward Brooke from Massachusetts and Representative John Conyers from Michigan together first introduced the bill to Congress to establish the national holiday in the 1970s.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law additional legislation to establish the Martin Luther King Day of Service. The Day of Service focuses attention and opportunity for volunteer citizen service in the model of Dr. King. City Year, the Boston-based nonprofit that organizes AmeriCorps volunteers around programs to support education, is one of the leading proponents of activities on the Day of Service.
Here at Educators Insurance Agency, we champion wonderful ideas already in play, in the communities where we live and work. Here are some ideas you can bring to your own school or workplace on January 20:
- Support reading in your community by recording audiobooks for the library, a senior center or youth programs
- Host a discussion about Dr. King’s teachings and their impact in your community
- Bring students to a senior center to meet with residents, read stories or offer musical entertainment
- Host a discussion about Dr. King’s example both here and abroad, as applied by Nelson Mandela
- Support school maintenance efforts: organize your class to paint an educational mural in a common hallway
- Tap into community cleanup efforts: shovel neighbors’ driveways and help with winter maintenance
- Invite the Red Cross to organize a blood drive at your school
However you celebrate this “day on”, we hope it’s useful and meaningful to you and your community!