On Monday, January 21, 2013, our nation will observe Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Since its establishment as a federal holiday in 1983, the observance of Dr. King’s birthday has become a time to honor his legacy through service to others.
Dr. King once said, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
That principle was formally recognized by Congress in 1994, when the MLK holiday was designated as an official National Day of Service and “a day on, not a day off.” This year, service and volunteer activities will be held throughout the country on Saturday, January 19. There are many ways to get involved – either by registering your own project or signing up for a local project at the MLK Day of Service website.
Participating in the National Day of Service is a wonderful way to honor and sustain Dr. King’s vision of “Beloved Community.”
The MLK holiday also serves as a precursor to the observance of Black History Month that begins February 1. MLK Day and Black History Month provide all of us the opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on the important role that African American leaders and culture have played and continue to play in shaping our country.
I encourage you to take time to personally and communally learn more about the social, cultural, political, arts, and historical impact of the African American experience. Challenge yourself to explore aspects that are new or unfamiliar to you. Seek out the richness of African American literature, poetry, or film. Dig deeper into our collective history to affirm or dispel lessons previously learned.
Some of my sources of inspiration and knowledge include: comedian, author and activist Dick Gregory; authors Nora Thurston Zeale, Ann Fairbairn, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison; musician and saxophonist John Handy; scientist George Washington Carver; and educational leaders and civil rights activists W.E.B Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.
Enjoy, and I hope to see you at PVCC’s Black History Month activities and events.