January 12, 2011

Celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday over dinner

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For MLK Day 2011, sign up and then eat, talk, change

Guest post by Jessica Kirkwood
Points of Light Institute

The 25th anniversary of the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is only a few days away.

Over the years, honoring Dr. King’s legacy through volunteer service is an idea that’s taken hold, and it’s a fitting way to remember a man who lived his life in service to others.

This year, you can also celebrate the King holiday over dinner.

Creating the change we’d like to see in the world works best when we talk and collaborate with our neighbors. And is there a better place to talk than when we’re gathered around the dinner table?

On Sunday, Jan. 16, the night before MLK Day, people all across America will gather in restaurants, coffee shops, community centers and private homes to discuss what matters to them, to identify challenges facing their communities and to imagine solutions.

Picture yourself discussing your community’s needs with neighbors you’ve already met or those you haven’t.

Picture yourself discussing your community’s needs with neighbors you’ve already met or those you haven’t. What ideas for improving your community might be developed collectively? What innovation, born over broken bread, might become real change over time? What if we made it possible for our children to participate in these conversations?

This year, in addition to volunteering on MLK Day, consider hosting or joining a Sunday Supper to reflect on how far we’ve come and how much we’d still like to do to ensure the health and well-being of our communities. You can download a facilitator’s toolkit (PDF) and conversation cards to get the discussion going here.

If you can’t join a Sunday Supper event in person, you can participate in the virtual conversation by watching the America’ s Sunday Supper live webcast this Sunday at 6 p.m. EST (3 p.m. PST).

Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, Olympic legend Carl Lewis, S. Leo Chiang, the producer and director of “A Village Called Versailles,” Barton Seaver, cook and National Geographic Fellow, Michelle Nunn of Points of Light Institute, Robert Egger of DC Central Kitchen and other special guests will share their thoughts on civic engagement, volunteerism and how to continue the work of Dr. King.

Be part of something bigger than yourself this MLK Day. Make it meaningful by serving others in Dr. King’s honor and also by creating a space and time for meaningful reflection and conversation.


Jessica Kirkwood is the Vice President of Interactive Strategy at Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network. For more information about civic engagement and volunteerism, follow @PointsofLight and @HandsOnNetwork on Twitter. You can find Jessica on Twitter at HeyJK.
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