When President Obama is sworn in for his second term on Jan. 21, the nation will also be honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement he led before his voice was silenced by an assassin’s bullet in 1968.
A federal holiday since 1983, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was later designated as a national day of service, the only holiday with that distinction. Just as King dedicated his life to serving communities struggling to overcome injustices, the holiday bearing his name is intended to be “a day on, not a day off.”
Projects big and small will be underway Monday all over the United States, with volunteers spending the day cleaning public parks, collecting clothes and food for needy families, visiting senior centers and other opportunities to give back to the community.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that has coordinated MLK Day projects since Congress declared it a national day of service in 1994. President Obama’s United We Serve community-service initiative has joined the agency in promoting the first holiday of the year as a day to give back.
To find volunteer opportunities in specific neighborhoods and more about the national day of service, visit mlkday.gov.