AmeriCorps CEO Statement on Unity through Service to Honor MLK Day
January 12, 2023
AmeriCorps calls on nation to bring communities together, help others stand together against hate, build bridges, and heal divides to honor Dr. King's legacy
WASHINGTON, DC – To commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith released the following statement:
"Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by improving their communities.
"While today may hold just one day on the calendar, we know that volunteering-even just once-can spark a lifetime of service. Helping a child learn to read could spark a lifetime passion for mentoring. Planting a community food garden could give young families their first access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Driving an older neighbor to their doctor appointments could reverse the effects of loneliness and depression.
"When we unite in service, we have the power to reimagine and reform systems that perpetuate inequality and deny opportunity. Service takes us on a path from charity to justice and brings us one step closer to Dr. King's vision of creating the Beloved Community-one in which no one is left behind.
"National service programs also can help create a more level playing field, opening doors to opportunities to try new careers, develop new skills, and meet new people so that a zip code where you are born does not limit your full potential.
"And critically, service brings us together. National service and volunteering are some of the best tools to build bridges, heal divides, and help people find common ground, so that we can remain strong against anything that tries to divide us.
"Now is the time to unite through service and volunteering to counter the corrosive effects of hate-fueled violence on our democracy and create a shared vision for a more united America. Let us come together and find new ways to engage our communities and spark a newfound sense of belonging.
"Even though we're living through challenging times, I have never been more optimistic about the power and potential of service to tackle critical problems and drive more equitable solutions.
"This MLK Day of Service, AmeriCorps and the Biden Harris Administration invite people from all corners of the country to engage with your community, volunteer your time, and act on Dr. King's legacy of social justice and equity, today and all year through.
"Together, we can strengthen ties to our communities and build a more united, more just future for America."