Today, Jan. 21 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For some the national holiday is an opportunity to educate themselves about King and his life's work. And for others, it's a time to give back and serve the community.
It took 15 years to create the U.S. holiday Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Legislation was first proposed by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) four days after King was assassinated in 1968.
The bill was stalled, but Conyers, along with Rep. Shirley Chisholm (D-New York), pushed for the holiday every legislative session until it was finally passed in 1983, following civil rights marches in Washington.
Then-president Ronald Reagan signed it into law. Yet it was not until 2000 that every U.S. state celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day by its name. Before then, states like Utah referred to the holiday more broadly as Human Rights Day.
Now, the Corporation for National and Community Service has declared it an official U.S. Day of Service.Learn more about the Corporation for National & Community Service and how you can get involved by visiting the Martin Luther King Day website.
To get started, here are five opportunities in the local area where you can donate or arrange to participate in a day of service.
Become A Friend Of The Mystic & Noank Library
Volunteers aid library staff in a number of ways, including book mending, book shelving, collection inventory, library mailings, special events and a variety of other activities. For more information contact the Mystic & Noank Library at 860-536-7721.
This Saturday,from 9 a.m. to noon, the library is hosting an indoor volunteer work day where volunteers will help library staff with cleaning and maintenance tasks inside the library. Volunteers don't have to work the whole the time, but should let the library know beforehand if they can only stay for an hour or two. To sign up to volunteer go to the circulation desk during normal library hours or call 860-536-7721. House Grounds Committee Co-Chair, John Porter can answer any questions at 860-536-2312 or email@example.com.
Volunteer At The Stonington Free Library
The Stonington Free Library is constantly looking for volunteers to help assist the library in a variety of ways. For more information contact the Stonington Free Library at 860-535-3945.
Donate To The Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center
The Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center is constantly looking for donations of nonperishable food items. Monetary donations are also accepted. For more information contact the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center at 860-599-3285.
Organize A Community Clean Up
On a recent Saturday a group of about 40 North Main Street neighbors gathered to clean up the street. Together they cleared the street of branches and other debris. According to local Rob Simmons they collected enough branches and garbage for about eight dump runs, and the town let them drop off the garbage community clean up.
Make a Wish on PennyClick
PennyClick allows users to put $25 or more into an account and then donate $1 or more of that money to more than 1,000,000 GuideStar™ charities. But it also allows users to create a fundraiser or wish for a charity of their choice. There are wishes for the New England Science & Sailing Foundation, the Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association, the CDC Foundation, even the American Vegan Society.