On Monday, January 16, we will mark the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. That day is the perfect opportunity for Americans to honor King’s legacy through service. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community.
In 1994, Congress designated the holiday a day of service, asking Americans to observe it as a “day on–not a day off” in honor of King’s words, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?”
You can find ways to serve on the Day of Service website here, and below are local services and events to attend:
- On Sunday, January 8, the MLK Jr. Day of Service Committee of Bloomfield will hold a food/baby items drive at Brookdale ShopRite of Bloomfield from 9 am – 1 pm. They will be collecting non-perishable foods and baby items for our community’s less fortunate.
- Bloomfield Township will host the 15th annual MLK Holiday Observance Program at the New Light Baptist Church (NLBC) on January 16. NLBC’s Pastor, Reverend Vernon C. Miller, along with Councilwoman Davis, welcome all to attend at 4 pm at the church, located at 89-91 Dewey Street. Keynote speaker Dr. Annie Ellis Williams will offer comments on this year’s theme, “Where Do We Go From Here… Chaos or Community?” Pastor Miller comments that, “people need to be reminded of Dr. King’s quest to preserve and create community and encouraged to continue pressing towards that quest.” Both he and Councilwoman Davis hope that attendees will leave with a greater appreciation for Dr. King, his commitment towards social justice and his desire for people to be involved in service to their communities. Attendees are encouraged to bring donation for the food and baby goods drive. For more information, call 973-338-5888.
- Montclair State University’s Volunteer Center and Center for Community Engagement will be hosting its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 16 from 8 am to 1 pm. The event will begin in the Student Center for registration and t-shirts, and then volunteers may enjoy a breakfast and words from esteemed guest speakers. Service activities include sandwich making; writing cards for soldiers; working with children, the elderly, low-income individuals living with HIV, and adults with developmental disabilities; fire prevention outreach; food and toiletry drives; and more! Transportation will be provided.
- On Saturday, January 14, NJPAC will host its annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration. The event will feature the return of Dance Theatre of Harlem, the legendary ballet company founded as an artistic means to turn despair into hope following the assassination of Dr. King.
- Newark Museum will host Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Celebration from noon – 4 pm on January 16 to celebrate the freedom and community, while learning about the life and legacy of Dr. King. Join them for film screenings, musical performances, tours and hands-on workshops for all ages.
- Union Baptist Church of Montclair will host a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Worship Celebration on Sunday, January 15 at 11 am with guest preacher Rev. Dr. Peter Hetzal and guest speaker Larry Hamm.
- For the 8th Annual Jersey Cares Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, 1,500 volunteers will participate in 20 service projects spanning two days. Volunteers will honor Dr. King’s legacy while displaying their own leadership skills as they brighten dull walls with fresh paint, spend time with seniors, paint murals, and organize donations. Volunteers throughout New Jersey will work to embody Dr. King’s vision and bring people of all ages and backgrounds together strengthening their communities. Find a volunteer opportunity here.
- West Orange Human Relations Commission will host a celebration service of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 16 from 10 am – 12 pm at 66 Main Street, West Orange.
- The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race Presents 16th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Observance & Fair at Columbia High School, 17 Parker Ave, Maplewood. Hundreds of SOMA residents and friends from neighboring communities will gather to honor Dr. King through music, a sharing of interfaith readings, and an affirmation of Dr. King’s call to action and service. LaShawn Y. Warren, Vice President and General Counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, will be the guest speaker.
- The People’s Organization For Progress will organize a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March & Rally For Equality, Justice, Peace, & Democracy on Sunday, January 15 at 2 pm beginning at the Martin Luther King Statue, 465 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd in Newark. For more information call 973.801-0001.