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Best known as a pioneer of the Civil Rights movement, spearheading such protests as the Montgomery Bus Boycott with Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a pivotal role in organizing community based efforts to address social issues like poverty. It is the zeal that Martin Luther King, Jr. had for organizing community based projects that led to the celebration of his birthday being associated with national service. Since 1994, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday has been recognized by Congress as a national day of service. Occurring every year on the third Monday in January, Martin Luther King, Jr. day is the only federal holiday that is observed as a national day of service. Websites such as http:/mlk.gov help steer individuals towards service projects in their area, along with assisting them on creating projects of their own.

This celebration of service takes me back 4 years when the nation seemed to be brimming with a spirit of community service, poised to embrace a change from Washington’s “business as usual” slogan trumpeted by the winning candidates. Today, plagued with a broken economy, bitter bipartisan disagreements, epic natural disasters, and shootings at malls, at a movie theatre, and a school, much of the drive towards community service that was present at President Obama’s first inauguration was in short order at today’s inauguration. Understandably, many people are anxious about the state of today’s political, environmental, and social sphere. It’s hard to think about the community at large when your own piece of the world may be falling apart around you. The beauty of volunteering is its gift of perspective, the way it takes the focus off of oneself towards another person and/or circumstance. Volunteering gives one the opportunity not only to help individuals who may be needier than themselves, but also provides the chance to connect with a part of the community one may not have connected with otherwise. Joining or starting an organization to channel ones efforts is great, but something as simple as helping your neighbor with their groceries, meeting up to talk with a friend that is going through tough times, are steps in the direction of changing ones community for the better.

Looking beyond ourselves to connect with others and serve our community is part of the dream that Dr. King had for the nation. It is the part of his dream that was reignited 4 years ago, the part of the dream I hope is reignited today.

In what ways do you believe you can, or are, effecting change in your community?

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About musingsnyc

I'm a self-professed iOS app addict who loves reading, writing, surfing the Internet and my hometown, New York City. In 2000, I graduated from the City University of New York, Hunter College, with a degree in English (writing concentration) and Political Science. In August 2009, I received an online MBA degree with a specialization in Public Administration from the University of Phoenix. For the past 8 years, I've worked as a Paralegal in the Immigration Law Unit of one of the largest not for profit law firms in New York City. Prior to my work as a Paralegal, I worked as a Traffic Coordinator and Assistant Account Executive in a New York City based Hispanic advertising agency. Throughout all of my different work and school experiences the one constant has been my love of writing. As long as I can remember, I have been jotting words down in notebooks, pieces of scrap paper, and just about any surface where ink would not dissolve. I have always been eager to share my thoughts and opinions about what is going on in the world and my personal life via writing. It would be a dream come true if I could channel my love and passion for writing into a full-time or freelance opportunity. My goal is to share my thoughts, opinions, life experiences in a thought- provoking and entertaining way with all that drop by. I love interacting with people and thus would love and greatly appreciate all feedback via the comments section of this blog.

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