"An individual has not started living fully until they can rise above the narrow confines of individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of humanity. Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment: 'Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?'” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
When you think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, service is one of the many things that will stand the test of time. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, MLK Day is the only federal holiday that Congress also designates as a National Day of Service.
Whether it strengthens individuals, grows communities, offers solutions or builds bridges, the answer to Dr. King’s vision of a beloved community resides in the willingness of all people to serve others—to sacrifice the self in service to the many. Each of us can and should answer this annual call to service with thoughts and actions of community and non-violence—of love for all and hate toward none.
Building A Beloved Community
“The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others.” — Coretta Scott King
At Herzing University, the belief in a service-focused people is hardwired into the mission and the values of everyone from university leadership to its faculty and staff to our students' past, current, and future.
Vision: The vision of Herzing University is to be a lifelong learning partner for its students, employers, and communities in optimizing their economic and human potential.
Mission: To educate, support and empower all students for success in work, learning and engagement in our communities and global society.
With each graduating class, new members of the Herzing University family return to their local communities with a greater dedication to helping others, through the skills they have acquired and the people they have met. You can support this effort within your own community through acts of service and charity, both big and small. Identify opportunities to give back, including but not limited to:
- Clean up local parks, playgrounds, highways or rivers
- Deliver care packages, coupons or donations to a local food bank
- Give blankets or clothing to a homeless shelter
- Help your elderly neighbors with repairs, cooking or shopping
- Mentor young professionals or become a teen counselor through Big Brothers, Big Sisters
- Organize a donations drive
- Participate in local charity events
- Raise money for a local animal shelter
- Start or join a neighborhood watch group
- Volunteer at a local nonprofit like Habitat for Humanity
- Write letters to soldiers and veterans
Leading First through Non-Violence
As you think of ways to give back and to lend a hand to others, think also about ways you can be a symbol of peace, love, and non-violence. Today, we can come together in our common humanity around the issues of racism, bias, inequity, and injustice in our society. The fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence were outlined in his book, Stride Toward Freedom. These principles can be embraced as a lifestyle for all people and be a foundation for those that look at acts of service as something all people should seek in their daily lives.
Dr. King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence are:
- Principle 1: Nonviolence Is a Way of Life for Courageous People.
- Principle 2: Nonviolence Seeks to Win Friendship and Understanding.
- Principle 3: Nonviolence Seeks to Defeat Injustice, or Evil, Not People.
- Principle 4: Nonviolence Holds That Unearned, Voluntary Suffering for a Just Cause.
- Principle 5: Nonviolence Chooses Love Instead of Hate.
- Principle 6: Nonviolence Believes That the Universe Is on the Side of Justice.
Ways You Can Begin to Serve
Each of Herzing's local campuses—Akron, Atlanta, Birmingham, Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, and Tampa—may have dedicated MLK Day of Service events and year-round opportunities for you to give back to your community. Don’t be afraid to ask about service events or offer to host an event yourself!
Now, with MLK National Day of Service approaching, how will you answer Dr. King’s eternal question: What are you doing for others?