MLK Day of Service

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

 – Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. nonviolent campaign that brought redemption, reconciliation and justice. Starting in 1986, this bill set aside the third Monday of the year to commemorate the birthday and achievements of the civil rights leader.

Despite blatant hatred toward him and his family, Dr. King used his ministry to travel across the Bible-belt and fight for equality.   At the age of 15, King began his social justice journey at the HBCU, Morehouse College.

Many people don’t realize that six years before Dr. King’s well-known “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963, he recited, “Give Us the Ballot,” fighting for voting rights for African Americans. The young pastor quickly found himself at the forefront of the civil rights movement.

During his time behind bars in Birmingham (1963), Dr. King wrote “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” where he shared four steps in culminating a nonviolent campaign in which the empathic approach of the IPARD process for service learning aligns with. First, we must collect the facts as preparation to discuss difficult situations. Then, we must reflect through self-purification and finally demonstrate through direct action.

King received some of the world’s top awards for his work, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.   He was gunned down in Memphis in 1968 at the age of 39.

As MLK Day is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service, it surely is not a day off.

This year, Florence Government Center will acknowledge Dr. King’s accomplishments as civil rights leader and social activist through a tribute and march around the government center campus beginning at 3 pm. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition will also host events; most are free to the public:

  • 8 am King Legacy Breakfast (contact 513-333-7706 for tickets)
  • 10:30 am 43rd Annual Commemorative Civil Rights March beginning at the Freedom Center (Free)
  • 11 am Interfaith Prayer Service at Fountain Square (Free)
  • 11:15 am March Continues to Music Hall (Free)
  • 12 noon MLK Commemorative Celebration at the Music Hall (Free)

To incorporate Martin Luther King Jr. Day into your classroom, visit for lessons and ideas.

Once Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes to an end, don’t let the rest of the year pass without the continuous practice of equity. Visit Learning to Give for more justice-related service learning toolkits or Youth Service America for ideas to help kindness rise!

“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.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.