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Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021

USQ would like to encourage everyone to seek out volunteer and activism opportunities this MLK Day, in the name of Dr. King’s belief in grassroots, participative activism.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15th, 1929. In 1983, the federal government began celebrating his birthday on the third Monday of January for his essential role in the Black Civil Rights Movement. It is thanks to Dr. King and the people that fought with him that segregation and Jim Crow laws were finally dismantled.

Dr. King believed in nonviolent protest, civil disobedience, and grassroots activism. The protesters of this time period were often faced with police brutality, violence from counter-protesters, and government resistance to their demands for equal rights— not unlike the protests we see today. The Black Lives Matter movement has its ideological roots in Dr. King’s work to bring justice for the Black community and his vision of a future where a person’s race did not determine their worth or their fate.

Some of Dr. King’s most notable works are his “I Have a Dream” speech and “Letter From Birmingham Jail” (both 1963). He is also known as the leader of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the 1963 March on Washington, two Selma-Montgomery marches, and various other landmark protests of the 1960s. 

While Dr. King is now widely regarded as a hero, during his lifetime he was vilified and treated as a radical, facing government surveillance as well as several attempts on his life before being assassinated in 1968. Many of Dr. King’s “dreams” have come true, as the racial divide across the United States lessens; however, many of his visions for a more just country (including policing, incarceration justice, and his distrust of capitalism) have yet to be realized.

USQ would like to encourage everyone to seek out volunteer and activism opportunities this upcoming MLK Day, in the name of Dr. King’s belief in grassroots, participative activism. Some examples can be found below.

  • Hunger Free America - MLK Serve-A-Thon January 18th-19th
    • “For 20 years, Hunger Free America has honored MLK's life work with service and action. The 2021 Serve-A-Thon will focus on a series of virtual workshops addressing the intersectionality of food justice followed by a virtual service activity with a non-profit partner organization.”
  • AmeriCorps - MLK Day of Service
    • A catalog of various volunteer service projects, searchable by place and theme.
  • VolunteerMatch
    • A database of volunteer opportunities, specifically more long-term roles.
      • “Volunteer opportunities for volunteers looking to help from a computer, from home or anywhere.”
  • Jersey Cares - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service January 18th
    • (New Jersey specific, virtual and in-person options)
    • “The Jersey Cares Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service engages people across the state to embody Dr. King's vision and bring people of all ages and backgrounds together, strengthening their communities and building a stronger New Jersey.
    • Due to COVID-19, 2,100 volunteers will honor Dr. King's legacy through a variety of virtual projects.”
  • King Day of Service
    • (Greater Philadelphia specific, virtual)
    • “Be a part of the largest Martin Luther King Day event in the nation.
    • The Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, the largest King Day event in the nation, and Global Citizen, promotes year-round volunteer service and civic engagement.”
  • "The Best Volunteer Opportunities for MLK Day"
    • Includes a “Volunteer Your Time” section as well as a “Donate Your Money” section.