MLK Day: Serve and Reflect

January 16th, 2012

To most of us students, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just a perfectly timed holiday. Not too long after the end of winter break, it gives us time to rest from the hectic first weeks of the semester. But MLK Day means much more than a day off: it is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. The day gives all citizens the opportunity to build community, empower themselves, and help their peers, neighbors, youth, and underprivileged. While you can volunteer year-round, consider volunteering specifically on MLK Day with a large group and celebrate Dr. King’s belief in a “beloved community.”

 If you’re struggling to find the perfect service project, try out one from our LibGuide on MLK Day. Always wanted to help youth? Remind hospitalized children that life doesn’t have to be bleak just because of their surroundings. Show them that they’re loved and cared for with a simple crafts project or bedtime story – or even break out the acoustic guitar! Is saving the environment more your style? Well, plant a tree, and start a local garden that everyone can contribute to. Whatever your interests are, you can bet that an organization supports them.

 Another way that you can uphold King’s memory is by educating yourself in different cultures, ways of thinking, and beliefs. King taught us to overcome our differences for the better good. In accordance with that lesson, you may want to join IU East in the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, an initiative that strives to foster respectfulness and a diverse, aware community. Check out these upcoming Interfaith Campus Challenge events and more on their calendar page:

 January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Speaker Series

January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast (Townsend Center, 7am)

January 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Boys & Girls Club Service Project

January 25: Quaker Presentation and Worship Service (Community Room, Whitewater Hall, IU East Campus, time TBA)

 If you want to learn more about the revolutionary leader, our shelves are stock full of history. You cannot pass up Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Life, an e-book that offers a strong biography of King. The title and cover of I May Not Get There With You (E185.97.K5 D97 2000) will grab your attention, but the author’s claim that King has become irrelevant in today’s society is enough to demand a read. The riveting Killing the Dream : James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (E185.97.K5 P67 1999) recounts the impact of his assassination on the country, following ten days that “literally rewrote the course of American history.” And we have plenty of others, including books (A Martin Luther King Treasury, E185.61 .K535) and e-books (Ring Out Freedom! : The Voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement)

 So will you be spending Monday reading about the holiday’s namesake, or how will you give back to your community?