In the USA, the months of December and January are termed ‘the holiday season’ owing to Christmas and the New Year. Traditionally, the season brings cheer and goodwill. People are just a little bit kinder and good deeds flow like the waters of the Mississippi River. It is the one time of the year where collectively people feel that they are part of a community. However, many failed to experience the holiday spirit mainly because isolation caused by COVID-19 pandemic. Hoping for a brighter future, 2021 welcomed the world with at least three new strains of COVID-19 and political panic in the USA, further severing the feeling of community.
Celebrated annually in the USA on the third Monday of January is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Although not considered to be part of the ‘holiday season’ the day honors hope and goodwill. Designated as a national day of service by the US Congress, the holiday encourages all to realize Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community. The life and legacy of one of the most influential leaders in civil rights was to improve the community. Perhaps Dr. King’s most memorable address is ‘I Have A Dream’ given in 1963. Over 200,000 people marched peacefully to Washington DC and on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King revealed his dream of living in a country where everyone was treated equally. Dr. King always posed:
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘what are you doing for others?’ “
The needs of the community may have escaped the view of others, but those of us at GIA remember to serve our community with dignity, honor, respect and integrity. The courage and efforts of Dr. King have permitted many people to pursue their dreams regardless of race, color, gender, religion, nationality or sexual orientation. It is now up to each of us to protect this legacy by standing up to societal injustices and helping those in need – especially in these difficult times. Youth Activism is the greater power of community service. This Monday 18 January, help realize the needs of others by pledging to serve your community. Remember that service is not a one-day event, it is a lifetime commitment. No matter what unfortunate drama 2021 brings, create your own legacy by bringing positive social change.