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WE ALL HAVE GIFTS TO SHARE ONLY LIGHT CAN DRIVE OUT DARKNESS
MLK’S DAY OF SERVICE REMINDS US OF THE IMPORTANCE OF ACTION
If you’ve visited the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C., you know what a towering tribute it is. Nestled among monuments to war heroes and elected leaders is a 30-foot slab of white granite with Dr. King’s likeness chiseled out. On the side is the quote that inspired the design: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” It’s a powerful image, bound to stay etched in your mind. The other day, as I was being bombarded by the TV news with stories of evil, hate, and destruction, I was reminded of the following quote from Dr. King’s book Strength to Love : Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
I often bring my children along to
help. It’s important for them to know that not everyone has it good and many struggle with basics like food and shelter. Serving the needy teaches them empathy. Also, I want my kids to know what Dr. King taught: There’s no better place for you to be than in the service of your fellow man. Members of my team have also helped, and I’m truly grateful for their support. I’ve seen clients of mine stay in the PORT shelter. That’s difficult for me. These are people who are struggling, and it’s my job to help them. My heart really goes out
Brian and Jennifer’s youngest son, Aidan, last year at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Many of Dr. King’s peers claimed that he was a man of inaction, that denouncing
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
hatred and violence signaled submission. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. King speaking at the Memphis Sanitation Worker Strike to assist workers in ending discrimination and obtaining higher wages, and being arrested during the Montgomery Bus Boycott were examples of doing, not just talking. Something about Martin Luther King Jr. Day we don’t often talk about is that it’s listed as a Day of Service, not a Day of Remembrance like most holidays. Coretta Scott King campaigned to give it that designation in 1994. She knew that Dr. King would have wanted to inspire real action, not just remembrance. As we seek opportunities to serve this MLK Day, I’ll talk about one I’ve had for the last decade. You might be aware that I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus. For the last 10 years, we’ve volunteered for the PORT Emergency Winter Shelter Program ( www.linkhr.org/programs/ winter-service ). Each winter, from November through March, the PORT shelter sets up shop each week at a different participating church. They need volunteers to staff the shelter, so groups who can’t host volunteer their time. It’s a privilege to be part of such a large community effort — about 5,000 people donate their time each year.
to those who struggle, and I enjoy helping in my small way. As painful as it is to see a client at the shelter, it is rewarding the next year when they are no longer at the shelter because their disability claim has been approved and they’re able to take care of themselves! Opportunities for service like PORT have changed my perspective and taught me greater love and empathy for the people around me. I’m certain that’s what Dr. King would have wanted, and why his wife fought to make his holiday dedicated to the noble work of serving others.
N e x t D o o r Bu
May we honor Dr. King’s memory by being more service-minded. After all, it’s hard to hate people when you’re helping them.
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