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Honor King’s Legacy by Serving Others

For a man whose dedicated his life and legacy to enacting the positive and lasting change of a more equitable society, it’s appropriate that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service.

King was born Jan. 15, 1929, but the MLK Day of Service doesn’t always fall on his birthday.  A bill to honor him was introduced just days after his death in 1968.

Fifteen years after King’s death, then-President Ronald Regan signed a bill in November 1983 designating the third Monday in January a federal holiday in observance of the legacy of King. It took three years for the holiday to be observed. It took even longer for all states to recognize the holiday.

Today, MLK Day has become a day of service and Americans are encouraged to spend the day volunteering with acts of civic work and community service. Many are off work and school for the federal holiday, and the opportunities for how to honor the holiday’s namesake are endless:

  • Volunteer your time for any local organization.
  • Make a financial donation to an organization of your choosing.
  • Make a physical donation to those in need.
  • Register to vote.
  • Donate meals to a local homeless shelter.
  • Mentor youth.
  • Offer help to neighbors by shoveling driveways, scraping windshields and salting after our recent winter snowfall.
  • Visit a senior citizen.
  • Organize a fundraiser.

For more ideas on how you can make a difference in the lives of others in your community on MLK Day and every day, visit the AmeriCorps website.