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MLK Day 2011: Dialogue & Action

This is a guest post from Jessica Kirkwood. Jessica is the Vice President of Interactive Strategy at Points of Light Institute & HandsOn Network. For more information about civic engagement and volunteerism, follow @PointsofLight & @HandsOnNetwork on Twitter.


Photo courtesy of Jessica Kirwood

Monday, January 17th marks the 25th anniversary of the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Over the years, we have come to celebrate the holiday by volunteering, a fitting way to honor the life and legacy of a man who lived his life in service to others.

This year, you can also celebrate the King holiday...over dinner.
Building on the revival of America's Sunday Supper tradition, hosting a meal or joining others for one offers us a chance 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.

In order to create the change we'd like to see, we have to talk to each other and, like people everywhere, we tend to do that really well when gathered around the dinner table.

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

Picture yourself discussing your community's needs with neighbors you've already met or those haven't. What ideas for improving your community might be developed collectively? What innovation, born over broken bread, might become real change over time?

How could our children participate in conversations like this?

This year, in addition to volunteering on MLK Day, consider hosting or joining a civic dialogue.
Host or Join a Sunday Supper and invite others from your community to attend. You can download a facilitator's toolkit and conversation cards 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 on Sunday, January 16 at 6:00 p.m. EST.

Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, Olympic legend Carl Lewis, S. Leo Chiang-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 with both action and reflection.

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