In the Service of Others: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Disability Advocate

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong advocate for marginalized people everywhere, including those with disabilities.


“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”


A Day to Serve

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Dr. King’s message of civil rights resounded in the disability community!

Life’s most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday falls on the Monday closest to Dr. King’s actual birthday of January 15, which was signed into law in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. Much more than a day off or a day of sales and shopping, the holiday is an observance of everything this great man did and stood for. In an effort to honor Dr. King and keep his spirit alive, Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wolford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis in 1994 co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law.


Later, in 2009, President Barack Obama proclaimed the holiday should be a National Day of Service, with the motto “Make it a day on, not a day off!” Congress charged the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal government agency, with coordinating efforts to move the country closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” Said Ruby Bridges, “Our nation has set aside a day where we can become more other-centered, rather than self-centered, and really focus on the broader concerns of humanity, because that’s really the person that [Dr. King] was and the way that he lived,” reflecting on the Reverend, who said, “everybody can be great because everybody can serve.”



There can be no higher calling than to serve people in need, be they the hungry and homeless, people with disabilities, senior citizens, or children who fled violence and want to learn English.


Martin Luther King Day of Service 2020

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