On MLK Day -- and Every Day -- Young People Can Be Great by Serving

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Image of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Ed King, a leader in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (and no relation to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.), said 

When nobody else is moving and the students are moving, they are the leadership for everybody.

The Civil Rights Movement was a young people’s movement, from children facing the fire hoses in Birmingham to high-school and college students staging lunch-counter sit-ins. And Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., saw in young people the power to build a foundation for the future. That’s why our greatest calling as adults is to provide opportunities for young people to serve.

On the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday celebrating Dr. King's life and legacy, we still have work to do to realize his dream. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service is the perfect time for Americans to answer Dr. King’s challenge to do something for others. And it's the perfect time to share the message of service with youth.

You converse with young people every day, so you know that even in the most adverse situations young people can articulate the challenges and opportunities they face better than most adults. I hope that today you're taking advantage of their insight and enthusiasm by serving alongside them and giving them a say in the projects they are contributing to. 

In the words of Dr. King:

Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

I’d like to hear from you. E-mail me and let me know what your young people accomplished today.

Best,

Curtis O. Porter

 

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