Sun Editorial: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Spend the day, spend the year, helping others

By Alan Bauer
The Sun

Monday is a national holiday: Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s not a day for a Netflix marathon. It is a day to answer King’s own question: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

The federal King Holiday and Service Act was signed into law in 1994. It encourages citizens, many of whom have the day off from work, to spend the day volunteering to help others.

Helping others is a most fitting way to honor King, someone who, while a brilliant orator, valued action above rhetoric.

King’s America was different from today’s America. Clearly, we still have racial divide and a lot of work to do to achieve the levels of equality and opportunity he sought, but, 50 years ago, racism was an ingrained and acceptable part of life for many. He worked — he went to jail — to change that.

On Monday, we will see thousands of volunteers spread out across our communities to lend a helping hand. Young people, religious groups, civic organizations and more will spend the day helping others. From cleaning up parks to feeding the hungry to collecting items for the less fortunate, it will be a day of service and action.

We’d like to see that spirit continue throughout the year and King’s legacy of action expand. If you want improvement or change, you have to get involved. Mere words won’t get it done. Volunteer, get informed, determine what’s important to you, and then get involved. Spend the rest of the year asking yourself: What am I doing for others?

This April will mark the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. Let’s honor his legacy by following his words and doing all we can to help others.