Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national day of service and a time for action. The action can be as simple as hosting a dinner in your own community.
Aimedra Kelley of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta cited a speech that King gave at Cornell College in 1962.
“I am convinced that men hate each other because they fear each other. They fear each other because they don’t know each other, and they don’t know each other because they don’t communicate with each other, and they don’t communicate with each other because they are separated from each other,”
Kelley recommends creating communication opportunities on Martin Luther King Day. “Invite people of diverse backgrounds to have courageous conversations about race. These conversations can help bridge the racial divide by creating a greater understanding of one another.”
You can learn more about hosting your own dinner here. In addition, here are other ways you can make a difference on this day – and all year long.
Deliver meals: 10 million senior citizens in America face the threat of hunger and Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals for homebound seniors. You can sign up to deliver a meal and give a quick safety check for senior citizens in your area.
Start a conversation: Points of Light Sunday Supper was inspired by Dr. King’s vision that people of diverse backgrounds would come together to discuss injustices and create a plan for action. Share a meal and conversation about community issues here. Other ways to volunteer are listed on the organization’s website.
Use your words: Good with words? You can write a letter thanking a veteran, first responder or a new recruit through Operation Gratitude.
Build homes: Find out what the housing need looks like in your community here and help build homes for those in need with Habitat for Humanity.
Educate others: The MLK National Day of Service site provides tool kits you can use to teach your friends, families and neighbors topics ranging from disaster preparedness to well-being. Start your own project here.
Offer help: Are you a medical professional? Doctors without Borders recruits medical, administrative and logistical support personnel to provide medical care to people worldwide.
Give money: Life-changing events like natural disasters happens often around the country and many people need of support. CNN’s Impact Your World has a list of causes you can donate to.
Be kind: Give a compliment. Open the door for someone. Help mom cook dinner. As King said, “The time is always right to do right.”