3 Ways to Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


On January 17, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader who transformed our country with his extraordinary vision and leadership. We are reminded of the deep connections between his vision and our work. Dr. King’s vision of the “Beloved Community” where all people are valued, respected and treated with dignity is the future we are working to build every day.   

Fifty-four years after his death, our nation continues to grapple with racial injustice, economic inequality and political polarization that make it clear there is much more work to be done to achieve Dr. King’s vision. As we reflect on his legacy and contributions to racial and economic justice, we must remain committed to continuing the important work of promoting equality and dignity for all people.  

Each year, The King Center in Atlanta leads the nationwide observance of the holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birthday. The theme and call to action for the 2022 Observance is “It Starts with Me: Shifting Priorities to Create the Beloved Community.” To complement this theme, Dr. King’s family is calling for the restoration of voting rights throughout the U.S. and asking that people work to protect these essential rights.  

As Dr. King once said, “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.” Today, we have an urgent call to continue the work of Dr. King and so many leaders to make racial justice, economic equality and voting rights a priority. Below are three ways to do just that. 

1. Learn more about the need to advance racial equity.

A Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. 

Building an equitable world requires ongoing learning about our country’s legacy of systemic racism and the impact it continues to have today. The Equity Lab, a grantee in our Education portfolio, helps organizations—including Schusterman—engage in learning journeys that serve as the foundation for forging meaningful and sustainable change.

As part of our own learning journey, The Equity Lab compiled a robust learning curriculum to help guide our staff through productive, thoughtful discussions. In the spirit of listening and learning, we want to share a selection of these resources with you to help spur conversations about systemic racism and take purposeful action toward racial justice. 

Explore The Equity Lab's curated list of resources on racial equity.

2. Help preserve our democracy by preserving the right to vote. 

Protesters at the March on Washington in 1963, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Nearly 60 years since Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to secure voting protections for all, communities of color in the United States still face widespread efforts to suppress their participation in our democracy.

Dr. King’s family is commemorating MLK Day Weekend with a call to Congress to pass federal voting rights legislation, including the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. There are more than 100 national and grassroots groups mobilizing to call for “no celebrations without voting rights legislation.” Among other activities, Dr. King’s family will lead a march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C.

Join the effort to secure voting rights today. 

3. Find a virtual or in-person volunteer opportunity.

Volunteers with Repair the World.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is often observed as a day on, rather than a day off. Throughout the month of January, organizations across the country will open their doors for people who want to get involved in community service efforts aimed at building Dr. King’s "Beloved Community."

Repair the World, a grantee in our U.S. Jewish portfolio, is among the organizations at the forefront of the national service movement. From packing menstrual kits to collecting cleaning supplies, Repair the World's volunteer database includes an array of virtual and in-person opportunities to volunteer on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and beyond. 

Explore opportunities for learning and service with Repair the World.

Jaynemarie Angbah is a Strategic Projects Senior Manager overseeing racial equity, diversity and inclusion (REDI) work at Schusterman Family Philanthropies.