Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day on, not a day off

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at amypotthast.com.

featuredThis coming Monday, January 17th, is the 25th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day — a national day of service in the United States. Where will you volunteer your energy and time?

People across the country are kicking off the new year by creating, joining, or reporting on MLK Day service projects in their communities:

Every year I try take part in a service project. This Monday, my family is going to carry out our second annual DIY project inspired last year by the tragic earthquake in Haiti.

First, we’ll update our own disaster supplies kit, and then we’ll share information with our neighbors about how they can prepare for disaster too.  We’ll pass along American Red Cross booklets that help Oregonians prepare for natural disasters possible here (like earthquakes) and Emergency Contact Cards (PDF) to carry in our wallets, just in case.

Via email to family and the local network of parents we’re connected to, and through blog posts like this one, our MLK Day service project can reach an even wider community.

You can learn more about disaster preparedness at www.redcross.org and at www.cruzrojaamericana.org. Here are some documents you can use at home and share in your community:

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! How are you making Monday a day on, not a day off?

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Comments (3)


  1. Kathryn writes:
    January 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    What a great idea- I love that you’ve made it a family initiative! Thanks for being such a great resource & example.


  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Idealist and Chelsea. Chelsea said: How will U honor Martin Luther King day? With a day off or a Day ON? http://bit.ly/ezdYQw [...]


  3. Julia writes:
    January 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Two things:

    Not in Our Town, which works to create safe, inclusive communities, offered a compilation of several short films along with a study guide for folks who wanted to organize screenings and discussions with their friends and neighbors. It might be too late to order the video for this coming Monday, but in case folks want to explore this beyond this weekend, here’s the link: http://www.niot.org/niot-video/mlk

    My personal plan is to attend this event at the Brooklyn Museum:
    http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/calendar/event/3044


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