The celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, this year on Monday, Jan. 21, has moved from a time of recognizing the man who ultimately gave his life for racial and social equality in non-violent activism., to a day of community service, grounded in Dr. King’s teachings to help solve social problems.
Dr. King was quoted, saying, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
The federal holiday was designated in 1983, and after that community services were held in the White Lake Area on Martin Luther King Jr. Day until 2009. They were organized by the Interracial Committee for Communication and Understanding which since has disbanded. Services were held in an area church, and school students participated by singing in choirs and reciting King’s famous “ I Have A Dream” speech.
In 1994 Congress designed the federal holiday as a Day of Service, and last year hundreds of thousands of volunteers in cities and towns in all 50 states participated in service projects. In 2012, nearly 7,000 individuals honored Dr. Kings’s legacy through more than 19,000 hours of service.
But, none in the White Lake area. And this year, a search of the website, www.serve.gov showed no organized MLK service opportunities within 25 miles of the Whitehall zip code.
And, in a Beacon poll last week, only three of the respondents said they planned to do something to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
That’s sad because we live in a community known for its volunteerism and service to one another.
It’s not too late to individually do an act of service on Monday - to go out of your way to help others. Let’s not let the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. fade into history and not positively impact our lives.