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It has been 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and our park will honor his life and legacy on January 20, 2014.
One of the ways that we can honor his life and all the good that he did for this country is by doing good ourselves. As one of the most influential leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King was a strong believer in equality and social justice. Dr. King’s beliefs were founded on the principles of nonviolence and the empowerment of communities by alleviating poverty.
To pay tribute to work that Dr. King did in fighting for equality in this country, Congress made his birthday a federal holiday in 1983 and in 1994 it was made a national Day of Service to continue to support the vision for America that he so strongly believed in.
Dr. King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Since Martin Luther King Day became a Day of Service in 1994, many people have answered Dr. King’s question in a number of ways—helping their community prepare for a disaster, giving back to schools, teaching their community about healthy lifestyles, supporting military families, and serving as environmental stewards.
Last year was a historic year of service with 1.3 million hours of service given by volunteers across the country. All told, 194,875 pounds of food were donated, nearly 10,000 individuals were taught about disaster preparedness and financial literacy, book drives were organized for schools, and native habitats were restored in parks.
There are many resources available to help you learn more about Dr. King’s life and how to get involved with the 2014 MLK Day of Service on January 20. MLKday.gov is a great tool for learning about service opportunities in your community—as well as how to promote those activities in your neighborhood.
Here in the Golden Gate National Parks, we’ll be celebrating another momentous year of service through projects ranging from habitat restoration to landscape beautification to trail maintenance—so locals and visitors can enjoy our parks for years to come. To learn more about opportunities in the park, visit our event page.
This year, honor Dr. King’s legacy by helping to serve your community!