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Ways to Celebrate Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Day, a day in which we honor the human rights activist, Christian pastor, leader in the African-American Civil Rights movement, role-model, Nobel Peace Prize winner, humanitarian, and historic legend. Some will be able to enjoy a holiday, free from work and school, while others will go about their normal hustle and bustle. Rather than going about your regular routine, consider doing something to honor this holiday in a way that reflects that of the Martin Luther King Jr.

Not sure what to do? Here are some options for you to consider….

  • Volunteer your time to a local nonprofit in need of an extra set of hands. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities in and around the Chicago metropolitan area, and chances are, they could use your help. Click here  to find out about activities and public services opportunities where you may be able to volunteer your time. Not able to set aside the time to volunteer? Nonprofits and social service organizations are always happy to take monetary donations, regardless of how large or small. Pick a cause that is near and dear to your heart, perhaps the religious institution you belong to, or a community cause that you know could use some help, and send them a check to show your support to their cause. 
  • Do something kind for a stranger. While most of us are willing to lend a hand to our family, friends and colleagues, it is rare that we practice random acts of kindness to people we don’t know. Consider doing something kind for someone, just to put a smile on their face. Buy a cup of coffee for the stranger behind you at a coffee shop, maybe even a hot meal to someone who spends most of their day outside on the street. Donate clothing to a local shelter, or to our local neighborhood Howard Brown. Donate some gently used books to your neighborhood school or library. Practicing random acts of kindness are a simple way to make others smile, and hopefully your kindness will become contagious.
  • Observe a few moments in silence to honor MLK. Martin Luther King was a Christian Pastor and a religious leader. While you don’t have to pray the same way he did, or to the god he praised, you can offer up a few moments of silence as a way to spiritually acknowledge his work towards peace for all. Whether you chant mantras, give up gratitude, sing psalms, or observe spiritually in any other way, reserving a few dedicated moments to MLK’s struggle for peace on our behalf is a humbling gesture that honors his memory.
  • Listen and learn about MLK, what he stood for and what he accomplished in his time. Chicago’s Public radio station has WBEZ specials on Martin Luther King happening on and off all day and you can find them here. You can watch many of his famous speeches on YouTube here. With so much information available online, use today as a time to educate yourself about the humbling work that Martin Luther King Jr. and the ways in which his actions changed America forever.

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