Millions of Americans will be able to enjoy a three day weekend because of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day Jan. 17, but the holiday also presents opportunities to volunteer and give back.
The MLK Center for Nonviolent Social Change is holding a global teach-in event Friday, offering educators access to lesson plans and activities based on the work and life of Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott King. The lesson plans will be available to download for free for students in grades K-12. Chance Patterson of the King Center added the lesson plans are not limited to MLK weekend or educators.
“We want to inspire students to believe that they can make a difference, that they can be part of the change they want to see in the world,” Chance Patterson from the King Center told CNN.
For those living in the Washington D.C. metro area, the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress are looking for volunteers to digitally transcribe historical documents ranging from African American History to personal letters and journals of historical figures.
The digital transcriptions will make the transcriptions widely available for the public and those with vision and hearing impairments.
Other volunteering opportunities in the DMV area include Islamic Relief USA, which is looking for people to hot meals, warming kits, sanitizer and groceries to diverse communities and neighbors in need on Monday Jan. 17 between 11 A.M. and 2 P.M.
AmeriCorps has a searchable database of MLK Day volunteer opportunities available around the country. Simply put in your zip code and click on the “MLK Day” box to find the projects available in your area.
For those who want to help financially, there are a bevy of organizations people can donate to. The Equal Justice Initiative, which works to end mass incarceration and The National Urban League has been fighting for African Americans and others for more than 100 years. In addition to them, people can give to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union, both of which fight for civil rights.
If you want to stay in and stay safe during the holiday, there are a host of “on-demand volunteering” apps that can help those with vision impairments, those who need help with language translation or those looking for career or mentoring advice.
Columbia University is also having an MLK Day of Service and has featured a list of food pantries people can volunteer at or donate food too,
King, a reverend and civil rights activist spent his life focusing on the fair treatment and equality of Black people across the world. However, he was also a man who preached non-violence and that people of all races and colors should be able to live in harmony.