Many readers of this blog will be leading service projects in the next week to commemorate the King holiday. I set up the following activity to help volunteer leaders at Hands On Greater Portland connect their service to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words and mission. Before the service project, I’ll ask folks to read through the following quotes and highlight words or phrases that they think might be connected to the service project their about to engage in. Next, I’ll have them share those words and phrases in small groups. Following the service project, I’ll ask volunteers to return to the passages and again link King’s words to the volunteer experience. Finally, I’d lead a conversation about how volunteers see the work related to King’s mission and ask them what their next steps are toward helping create the just, loving community Dr. King dedicated his life to.
The King quotes I’ll use:
Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
The Drum Major Instinct, 1968
I still believe that we shall overcome! This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.
Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1964
We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. Beyond Vietnam, 1967
The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the abundant animal life around them. The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total, direct and immediate abolition of poverty.
Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? 1967
Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Letter from Birmingham Jail, 1963
We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobile rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.
The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Strength in Love, 1963
Please use the comments section to add your MLK Day of Service strategies or favorite quotes!