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Martin Luther King Jr. Day / Day of Service (originally posted 1/21/19)

For many younger professionals, there is no memory of a time when Martin Luther King Jr.’s life wasn’t celebrated by a national holiday. The first legislation to commemorate King through a national holiday was introduced to Congress in 1968, and it was in 1983 that President Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law. Some states already commemorated King, but it took 15 years to create a national day to reflect on King and the civil rights movement. If you’d like a brief history of the making of the national holiday, go to http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1872501,00.html.

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not just for reflection and celebration? For many, the day off of school and work is a Day of Service.

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that leads service and volunteering, with leading this effort. Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a "day on, not a day off." MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King's vision of a "Beloved Community."

Plan ahead for next year – or all year long! You can find volunteer opportunities that fit your skills and schedule, in your area, at https://www.nationalservice.gov/serve/search

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