“Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. …Yes, love—which means understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill, even for one’s enemies—is the solution.”  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As often as the fierce civil rights leader remarked on love or hate, Reverend King also openly discussed his hopes and dreams for a “Beloved Community.” Each year, his birthday is observed nationally on the third Monday of January, and since 1994, MLK Day has also been observed by many Americans as the MLK Day of Service. 

It is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of community service, encouraging citizens to do something for their brothers and sisters in their communities. Appropriately so, as Dr. King believed in his vision for the Beloved Community. A community he defined as a group of people who could come together to solve any social issue, division or struggle. 

Dr. King believed in justice for all. He hoped that one day in his lifetime racial struggles would be an issue of the past so his community could come together and move forward to solve issues faced by everyone, regardless of race. As he famously wrote in a Birmingham jail, “whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Though racial injustices persist in 2022, King would urge us to continue fighting for justice for all today. Whether that means cleaning litter from a roadway, donating to a local animal shelter, volunteering at a food pantry or calling to check on your elderly neighbor, MLK Day of Service is about putting others’ needs before your own. On Monday, any step you take to better your own community is a step towards King’s dream of the Beloved Community.

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