Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. No doubt the day will be filled with many sharing quotes about him and his work.
I love quotes. Words are my love language. And I am deeply moved by Dr. King and his life’s work on fighting for equality for all.
But I don’t want to simply share words of Dr. King and then go about my life. I want to do something that REALLY honors him.
I needed to educate myself. For the past year I have read more about the African-American and Black experience in America. I wanted to educate myself about the privilege I have and how others are treated.
This is a first step. I cannot hide in my house and behind books forever. I need to put my knowledge into actual action. But what is that action? What is the next step?
I want to do more, but I need to start small. One of the small steps is to donate to organizations that are continuing the work that Dr. King started. I have decided to donate to:
- The King Center. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change was started by Mrs. Coretta Scott King in 1968. The King Center shares that is it “squarely-focused on serving as both a local and global resource, the King Center is dedicated to educating the world on the life, legacy and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., inspiring new generations to carry forward his unfinished work, strengthen causes and empower change-makers who are continuing his efforts today”.
- Ivy and Pearls (Silicon Valley, CA). Started in 2005, Ivy and Pearls strive to “serve communities of color with a special focus on women and girls…to improve the quality of life by promoting health and wellness, academic excellence, economic empowerment, civic engagement, arts appreciation, and environmental and social justice”.
- San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP. This is my area’s local chapter of the NAACP.
But words without action are meaningless. Here are some actual action items I am going to focus on in the upcoming year:
- Support local Black businesses. In the last year I have made it an effort/priority to support the local bookstore Ashay by the Bay. I want to expand my support to more local Black businesses in my area.
- Reach out to representatives. As a white person, I have a lot of privilege that I want to use to help others. I’m going to start learning, and practicing, how to be an advocate and a true ally.
- Volunteer. I do enjoy and love serving others. I want to start serving more communities and I can do this by beginning to volunteer.
I know these sounds like simple steps, but I need to start somewhere. I need to put my passions, skills and knowledge into actions. I can’t simply sit on the sidelines while so many others are not treated equal.
What are you doing in order to continue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy?