Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who stood for peace. He once stated, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Through his persistent work as a primary nonviolent activist and voice within the civil rights movement, he changed the United States of America as we know it, and he changed the lives of all those who would come after him in this country.
Without resorting to violence, while always advocating for peace, Martin Luther King, Jr. protested racial discrimination in both federal and state law. He succeeded in so many ways that he likely did not fully realize in his own lifetime. Tragically, he was assassinated in 1968, but his legacy of peace continues. In 1983, Ronald Reagan signed into law a holiday that would honor him on third Monday of every January. King’s strong stance for peace and equality meant that some states refused to honor this holiday or did so only under a different name, and it wasn’t until 2000 that it was officially observed in all states for the first time.
To further honor the legacy of peace and service to others that Martin Luther King, Jr. taught through his strong example, the day also also become known as the national Martin Luther King Day of Service. It encourages people from all walks of life to take the Monday holiday for King and use it as a day to serve others and make the world a better place. It’s a day of peace and action.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service website can help you get started with your plans for activism on this day. Also, simply think of the things you most want to see changed in the world. Find a way to peacefully protest what is wrong or volunteer to help make things right on a local level. That’s the best way to start.