MLK Day of Service: A Call to Action

Posted by Luke Forgerson
January 20, 2014
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washinton, D.C.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial -- located not too far from the State Department’s headquarters in Washington -- not only honors the greatness of the man but also the enduring legacy of his words.  His speeches, sermons, and writings continue to inspire people in the United States and around the world today.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'"

Each year, Americans across the country seek to answer that question on the MLK Day of Service.  The MLK Day of Service is part of United We Serve, the President's call for Americans from all walks of life to volunteer in their communities.  There are numerous ways one can serve.

One of my most rewarding experiences was volunteering as a college student to work with exchange program participants on our university campus.  During my time as a volunteer, I met students and young professionals from dozens of countries and sought to introduce them to life in the United States.  I certainly learned more from the exchange participants than they did from me, but one aspect of American life that I believe impressed many of them was our commitment to volunteerism.

The exchange participants saw Americans -- ranging from high school students to retirees -- volunteering in their communities to protect wetlands, prevent drug abuse, and promote education, among other activities.   The exchange participants saw these volunteers embody what Dr. King once said: "Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve."

Join the hundreds of thousands of people who serve on MLK Day and throughout the year.  Find a project in your community or register your own project so that volunteers can find it.   Go to for more information.

About the Author: Luke Forgerson serves as DipNote’s Managing Editor and Deputy Director of Digital Engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

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