Spend Time Giving Back on MLK Day

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”

Martin Luther King Jr.

You probably know that this Monday is Martin Luther King Junior Day (a day off, hooray!) but did you know that this day has also become a national day of service to honor his legacy? MLK Day can be so much more than just a day off work. This year, consider giving back to your community through acts of service. Here are 5 ways you can do that!

1. Write to your representatives

There are so many important issues impacting us right now. Whether it’s impeachment, women’s rights, climate change, or anything else you care about, it’s important to make your voice heard. Contacting your elected official is a quick and easy thing to do but can make an impact. You can easily look up your representative’s contact information through the Senate directory and House of Representatives directory. You’ll be able to find both an address and a phone number for you elected official. Write letters and make phone calls telling them what is important to you! Your voice matters.

2. Pick up trash in your community

This is a great option that can also be a lot of fun! Send a text to your group chat and get some friends together for the day to clean up a local park, river, or highway median. Get creative and invite your community to join you! Bring some trash bags and gloves and see how many bags you can fill. This is a wonderful activity to do with friends and family and you’ll feel fantastic when the day is over.

3. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen

This option might take a little more planning, but it’s a really amazing way to support the most marginalized in your community. Contact a local shelter or soup kitchen and see what it is they need. Maybe they need all hands on deck to clean or serve food. Or maybe they need specific donations. See how you can best meet their needs and be ready for anything. This is a good way to plug into your community, and who knows, maybe this becomes something you do long term.

4. Donate to an organization you care about

Maybe you really need today to be a day off, but you still want to give in some way. That’s great too! Think about donating to an organization whose mission aligns with the things you care about. You can take the $10 you would have normally spent on lunch and give it to a good cause. A good way to find reputable organizations to donate to is through Global Giving. Browse their causes, and they will make sure every dollar you donate goes straight to the issue you care about. 

5. Share on social media

Sharing about a cause on social media is something any of us can do anytime! On MLK Day, consider sharing about what this day means to you. Share a quote by Dr. King or a video of one of his speeches. Share something about human rights or tell people about an organization that empowers people. You never know, something you share could motivate someone else to give back as well. 

This MLK Day, I hope we are all inspired to help one another and stand up for what is just and right. The greatest way we can honor the legacy of Dr. King is by loving each other. 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Elizabeth Endara is a writer, advocate, doula, yoga teacher and cat mom based in NYC. She loves Great British Bake-Off, Eastern Europe, snug coffee shops and writing about her feelings. She is the co-founder of a feminist blog called Release the Women and you can follow her work on Instagram @elizabetheendara.

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