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How You Can Honor MLK’s Legacy Year-Round

January 21, 2021by Taylor Dodson0

The third week of January 2021 is well underway! This past Monday marked MLK Day, an annual day of service that honors Dr. King’s legacy. This federal holiday is an important one, and can serve as a great opportunity to start conversations about the systemic racism that continues to impact our societies to this day. However, it is crucial to remember that giving back should never be limited to individual holidays. Rather, we should be doing our part year-round whenever we have the means, and commit ourselves to a lifetime of learning.

Below, we’ve detailed some of the ways you can honor this special day each year and how to continue making a difference once it has passed. To learn more, you can also visit the AmeriCorps website and check out our previous post about supporting the Black community in the fight against racial inequality.

Search for a volunteer opportunity.

A person's hands contain a small red heart made of felt.

You can use the AmeriCorps website or other local and national resources to find unique opportunities to serve. Feel free to try something you’ve never done before; this is a great way to gain a new skill or new perspective! Training sessions are regularly available for different opportunities, so you won’t be left without the resources and tools to succeed if you do try something new. 

There are plenty of virtual events available, so volunteering is still possible even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and for anyone who is unable to leave home.

Find an organization or initiative that interests you, and stick with it.

A group of people are holding plants, preparing to plant them near one another in a circular pattern.

MLK Day is a great day to serve, but giving back shouldn’t be limited to federal days of service. They can, however, be great days to peruse the different opportunities available to you and decide which ones you’d like to explore.

Once you find an organization or initiative that sparks your interest, you can take a training session, reach out to other volunteers, and map out a plan of action to continue giving back going forward. Even if you can’t make a weekly commitment, taking the time monthly or even quarterly to reflect on what more you can do and then taking action can be incredibly meaningful.

Donate to an important cause if you have the financial means.

Two people supporting each other by holding hands.

If you’re in a comfortable enough financial position to do so, monetary donations can also make a huge difference. These donations allow organizations to thrive, giving them the chance to invest in the resources, equipment, and materials they need to do their best work. There are hundreds of orgs that could use financial assistance or further awareness, such as those with focuses on social justice, fair housing, education, LGBTQ+ rights, and community development! And that’s just the beginning.

Giving back to your community is a great way to make a lasting impact and help solve the problems your community faces. It’s also an amazing way to connect with others, especially those who come from backgrounds that differ from your own. 

On MLK Day, it is particularly important to reflect on the struggles faced by the Black community. Consider taking the day to read through the words of Dr. King, and perhaps discuss them with friends and family. There are also dozens of books, articles, documentaries, and films available across libraries and digital services that discuss systemic racism in great detail. Taking the time to listen to others’ stories and embrace their knowledge can be an amazing way to increase our understanding, empathy, and expand our point of view.

It’s also important to remember that we can always vote with our dollar and use our voices for good. Support Black-owned businesses, have tough conversations where they’re warranted, and encourage others to contribute in meaningful ways. Together, we can make lasting change and continue to make the push for true equality.

Taylor Dodson

Taylor is a creative content strategist originally from the Midwestern U.S. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English, Film, and Creative Writing from Lawrence University, where she served as a four-year starter on the university softball team and took on four different positions in Campus Life while pursuing her double degree. With a deep love for collaboration, Taylor hopes to apply her background in community engagement to the digital world in support of local businesses. When she’s not at work, you can find her playing Animal Crossing or hanging out at her current favorite tea shop.

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