In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy, find a way to uplift your community and be an ally for people of the global majority. More ideas can be found on President Joe Biden’s National Day of Service page as well as a form to join AmeriCorps volunteer program.

I will serve my neighborhood, students, and community by:

1. Sending cards to seniors or voters. Because of COVID-19, many elderly folks have been cut off from social interactions. Nursing homes and care centers often accept cards or letters for residents. Meals on Wheels might have a Fan Mail program in your town that delivers messages to seniors. My class draws pictures almost everyday, and I hope our artwork brings a smile to someone special. In the next election cycle, I would like to join the thousands of people who send postcards to voters.

2. Sharing meaningful stories. Two of my favorite books to read are Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King! and Martin’s Big Words; both can be found on YouTube. That particular pair always resonates with my young students. This year I am also reading A Sweet Smell of Roses, a book about two sisters joining a march in their town, and taking time during the week to highlight other important figures in Civil Rights history such as Ruby Bridges, Barbara Rose Johns, and John Lewis. I hope the children learn that the movement involved kids, teenagers, men, and women, and it is a movement that keeps pressing forward.

3. Cleaning a neighbor’s yard or community garden. We help rake our retired neighbors’ leaves (all the leaves in Texas seem to fall in January) and put everything in the compost bin.

4. Organizing a clothing drive. After the new year, it’s common for families to donate old toys or clothing. In the winter, coats are highly-desired items. Look up your local Coats for Kids affiliate or Operation Warm. Contact a school guidance counselor or a children’s shelter to see how you can help.

If you’re able to shop or donate, support Black-owned businesses in your city or social organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and RAICES Texas to make an impact locally and nationally.