In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “One of life’s most persistent and urgent questions is: What are you doing for others?” This year, it’s more important than ever to embrace Dr. King’s philosophies. As we celebrate his legacy on January 16, we can embody his compassion for those less privileged, including the poor, the unemployed and the homeless. He believed that everyone should have the opportunity to realize their dreams.

Celebrating a Civil Rights Giant

Consider getting involved with these virtual and in-person events.

  • Participate in a day of service, giving your family’s time to help someone less fortunate. Hands On Atlanta is offering virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities, as well as events for social good, during the month of January. Visit for details.
  • Read or listen to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered Aug. 28, 1963, in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and discuss its significance, simplifying his message for younger children and going more in depth with tweens. Talk about discrimination and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Help your children gather up gently used toys or books they no longer use and donate them. Consider donating to Ronald McDonald House, which supports children undergoing medical treatment; The Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, which supports abused children; CHRIS kids, which focuses on foster care children; or church daycare facilities and women’s shelters. Call ahead to find out the needs of each organization.
  • Help your child make a new friend, someone who seems “different” from him: A child of another race, a child who grew up in a foreign country, a child with a learning or physical disability, a child in foster care. Teaching your child that other children may look different but are children just like him is a priceless lesson.
  • For young children, make a paper doll chain, then color the “people” all colors of the rainbow to teach the value that skin color does not define who you are or whether you’ll realize your dreams.
  • Set up a video camera or use your phone recorder and ask your children to talk about their hopes and dreams. Do it every year, and you’ll have a keepsake to treasure when they’re thoughtful, caring, compassionate adults.

Visit the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

This national park is Atlanta’s top tourist destination. Start at the Visitor Center for an orientation, then visit the Reflecting Pool and the tombs of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. You’ll also see historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King served as pastor. King’s boyhood home is located one block from the Visitor Center; interpretive park rangers are glad to answer questions and tell stories of King’s childhood. This educational and inspiring experience tells the story of a dreamer who became an instrument for social change.

Celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with these events and activities around Atlanta.

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