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Serve your community on MLK Day Jan 16

image of hands of various skin tones below words Serve for a More United America. Take Action on MLK Day
image of hands with different skin tones forming a circle with the words "take action on MLK Day"

Serve Washington's Executive Director, Amber Martin-Jahn, shares a call to action for all Washingtonians to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service on Jan. 16. This message from Serve Washington Executive Director Amber-Martin Jahn appeared in The Seattle TImes Jan. 13, 2023.

It highlights the connection beteeen Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and AmeriCorps and offers resources on how to serve in your community.

As the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaches, how will you serve your community?

Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice and economic opportunity for all. The pandemic and events of the last two years have shown us that these inequities Dr. King fought to eliminate still exist in our world. King’s challenge to all of us was — and still is — to recognize the important role we play in dismantling systems of oppression and racism and creating a more just and equitable society.

One way to do that is by committing to serve others through service. AmeriCorps members in our state and in communities across the country will be leading service activities like cleaning up public spaces, collecting essential items for organizations fighting social injustice and facilitating dialogue that explore ways to address inequity. You don’t have to be an AmeriCorps member to participate. 

Serve Washington has put together some suggestions for service projects that you can do by yourself or in a group. Among them include writing cards to residents of a senior center or deployed soldiers, making or collecting toys or supplies for animal shelters or helping neighbors prepare for emergencies. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope this sparks some ideas for your own service activities.

You can also search for local service opportunities through Serve Washington’s online Volunteer Connect tool. You can filter results by location, project focus, ability, age range of volunteers and other categories. Some cities and counties have their own volunteer centers with online listings. Most United Ways also have listings on their websites.

Nationally, sites like Idealist, Just Serve and Volunteer Match let you search for projects by entering your zip code. The Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition has a number of planned events, including Monday’s march. Keep in mind, local and national databases may not have the same listings, nor list every project in your community, so it’s a good idea to browse more than one to find a project that’s right for you. And if you’re hosting a project and need volunteers, many of the above resources allow you to register your project for others to find.

Read the entire op-ed here:

Related: Gov. Jay Insleee proclaims Jan 16 as MLK Day of Service in Washignton state