By Charlotte Smith
Today, America celebrates Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Junior, and many do it with a Day of Service. According to Britannica, Dr. King was a Baptist minister and social rights activist in the 1950s and ’60s. He was a leader of the American civil rights movement. He organized several peaceful protests as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, including the March on Washington in 1963.
This year is like no other due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. There is no Martin Luther King Jr. Parade to attend, but there are still ways to celebrate Dr. King while staying safe at home.
Here are seven ideas of making a difference to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
- Although the Bladen County Public Library is closed today to observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day they announced ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day safely from home. Check out the upcoming online events this afternoon (starting at 12p Eastern time, registration required for some events) from the National Civil Rights Museum: https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/king-day
All library branches will reopen at their normal times tomorrow (Tuesday, January 19).
“Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
—“The Purpose of Education” from Morehouse College student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, 1947
- Join Global Citizen on zoom this afternoon at 3 pm for reflection on the Martin Luther King Day of Service. According to the organization’s website, participants will discuss and share their experience of the 26th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service and the theme of “Justice and the COVID-19 Crisis.”
If you would like to join the Zoom directly, click this link when the program begins: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85961317471?pwd=NnpISEVlQlA2VFlSWENLd01qY3BiQT09
- Donate blood at a local health care facility. The Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center is a community blood program that serves patients’ needs in Cumberland, Hoke, and Bladen Counties through blood donation by individual donors, community organizations, and businesses.
Cape Fear Valley Blood Donor Center offers local volunteers an opportunity to Save Lives Locally.
Please call 615-LIFE (615-5433) or click here for information about upcoming blood drives.
To find out if you are eligible to donate blood, please click here.
- Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic many have suffered in silence. Promote mental health wellness on social media and in your community.
Help is available. Hope 4 NC offers a hotline for people to call 1-855-587-3463. Eastpointe also offers a service for anyone struggling with mental health issues. Call 800-913-6109 for assistance. Last but not least, there is a hotline for anyone thinking about suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. All the organizations are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
—Strength to Love, 1963
- Donate to The King Center. The King Center offers nonviolence training and education, camps, community talks and more.
Today the center will provide a culminating program for the weeklong celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and legacy. Today there will be the Beloved Community Commemorative Service. The event will be live streamed on multiple platforms, including Facebook, The King Center web page, and other sources, as well as televised locally on Fox 5 Atlanta.
Register for the event now: https://thekingcenter.org/event/2021-king-holiday-observance-beloved-community-commemorative-service/
“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” – Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
—”I Have A Dream” speech, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963
- Write elected officials about changes you want to see in your community and country. Writing an elected official a letter is an effective way of communicating.
When writing an elected official, keep it brief, limited to three issues at the most, let them know you keep up with their political career, and be persuasive. Find the elected officials in your area with a simple internet search.
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” – Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
—Stride Toward Freedom, 1958
- Go through your closets and cabinets. Do you have food or clothes you could donate to a shelter or food bank? There are non-profits and churches needing donations for the needy and homeless.
Getting rid of unwanted food and clothes will also help you be more organized for the new year.
“Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. He who loves is a participant in the being of God.” – Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The iconic civil rights leader wrote this in a rare handwritten letter he penned in the mid-1960s.