Monday, 16 January 2022 is the 36th year of the celebration that remembers Dr. King's lifetime of public service. As well as a federal holiday, it's also known as a day of service when Americans are encouraged to volunteer with charities to help their communities.
In one of my first semesters in college, the student body was included in a decision about the number of days off we had for holidays each spring semester. Before the decision there were several "town hall" discussion sessions to explain why this was happening, have our voices included, and how we were going to participate. The students voted and in a landslide chose to celebrate Dr. King!
After that decision, it became a special day each spring semester. His legacy should have been meaningful to all of us before that decision. Not because he was trying to leave a legacy but because he wasn't. He was doing the right thing.
When we do things with the goal of leaving a legacy it almost always includes some degree of selfishness. He wasn't. He acted selflessly in caring for others.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is;
'What are you doing for others?'"
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK knew that leadership comes down to two things; realizing it’s not about you and it’s all about you. It’s about how he served others and how his behaviors provided evidence of his authentic intentions. Intentions to help us embrace the shared connection of our humanity.
He spoke the above words to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama in 1957. He could have said it today and it would still have had the same impact. As we remember his impact let's also remember we can all have an impact when we selflessly serve others.
Happy 94th birthday Dr. King!