With the beginning of a new year come new hopes, new ambitions and new goals. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the first national holiday of the New Year and offers the perfect time to re-focus on how we, as individuals and communities, can celebrate the advances that have been made toward equality. It’s also a time to face the challenges that still exist to make Dr. King’s dream a reality.
We are fortunate to witness the GOOD that people do in our community. The barriers that are bridged to focus on a common goal – the goal of improving our community through the action of ordinary people who want to make a difference.
In Jacksonville, we enjoy a rich history of coming together each year for a community breakfast. January 14th will be the 24th of these annual breakfasts and will honor Willye Dennis for her commitment to equality in Jacksonville. The breakfast hosted by The City of Jacksonville; the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce; the Jacksonville Urban League; the NAACP Jacksonville Branch and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. To learn more about this event and to purchase tickets, please visit www.jaxmlkbreakfast.com.
At a past MLK Breakfast gathering, Dr. Jarik Conrad challenged our community to individually make commitments to invite someone of another race or culture to come to our home for dinner. We can learn so much about others when we share a meal together. On the national front is a new movement toward hosting Sunday Suppers where community members can come together to talk about their community’s most pressing needs and how to address them. This can be done on an individual basis or in groups. The HandsOn Network has a fabulous website dedicated to providing information and tools to help you get connected to an event like this or to create your own.
You can also view America’s Sunday Supper that is being held at the Newsuem in Washington, DC and is bringing together Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute and Co-Founder of HandsOn Network, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, Robert Egger, President of the DC Central Kitchen, Dikembe Mutombo, former NBA player for the Houston Rockets, and other service leaders to talk about national issues and how community service can help address those issues. America’s Sunday Supper will be streamed live from the Newseum. Find out how to watch here. Perhaps this would be something you could invite others to come and view with you.
On Monday, January 17, HandsOn Jacksonville has a full day of projects planned to give you and your families the opportunity to participate in MLK Day in meaningful ways. Additionally, we are hosting viewings of a MLK documentary followed by a time of discussion facilitated by community leaders.
We’re excited and encouraged about all of the opportunities to come together and make a real difference. We’d love to hear how you participated! Please leave your comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org