How you can honor Dr. King's legacy

January 14, 2022By Audrey Mechling

One day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.”

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.”

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?"

— Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one defined by a demand for justice and a call to serve. He saw the structural changes needed in our society, and called on all of us to do more than simple charity, to act in service of our neighbors and communities.

It is fitting then that the holiday honoring his life is the only day designated as a national day of service in America. In his speech on the passage of the resolution to designate this day as a day of service, then Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania, who decades earlier marched alongside King, said, “It is not enough to remember victories won. Martin would want us to raise our sights to the work yet to be done.”

So to honor Dr. King, we share with you this list of opportunities to serve our communities here in Oregon. This list also includes celebrations and educational events, including virtual events. Some of our favorites from this list include making care kits for our houseless neighbors, and a virtual conversation on racial equity with bestselling author Clint Smith.

We also honor his legacy by continuing his fight to build an economic system that works for all of us. You can join the fight this legislative session for big changes that would help our communities, including providing universal legal representation in deportation proceedings and enacting overtime legislation for farmworkers. Learn more about how you can get involved here.