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“A beloved community”: The dream and global legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service….Anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  — Martin Luther King Jr. Martin Luther King […]

Mike Guzzetti, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Manager
Mike Guzzetti
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Manager
Read time: 6 mins

“Everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service….
Anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.
You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve.
You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” 

— Martin Luther King Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) led and revolutionized the civil rights movement in the United States and helped inspire global movements for racial equality and freedom. He was a scholar, Baptist minister, and civil rights activist who played an integral role in ending segregation of Black and African-American citizens in the United States. 

MLK was also a key player in the creation of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 (outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, later sexual orientation, and gender identity), the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (prohibiting racial discrimination in voting), and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (prohibiting racial discrimination in housing).  


If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way….The time is always right to do what is right.” 

— Martin Luther King Jr.


Though he won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, it didn’t slow his drive for change. In 1968, he created an initiative called The Poor People’s Campaign, which united a group of multicultural leaders to fight poverty and win economic justice. The ideals he spread then continue to reverberate today amidst widening global income inequality.       

Broad and deep, MLK’s international footprint includes the inspiration of the United Nations’ groundbreaking 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights.  


An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity….Our goal is to create a beloved community. 

— Martin Luther King Jr.


MLK left a light that many have continued to follow. In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act to symbolize “a day on, not a day off.” Since its inception, it has helped foster the growth of U.S.-based acts of service and civic engagement and influence global service efforts such as the Day of Good Deeds, Global Month of Service, etc. 


Life’s most persistent and urgent question is:
‘What are you doing for others?
‘”

 — Martin Luther King Jr. 


How impact.com employees serve beyond their day jobs

At impact.com, many employees devote their time to giving back in their time away from impact.com. Read about and be inspired by their contributions, especially on this MLK Day on January 17. 

Meet Nicki Ward, a dog’s best friend 

For more than a year and a half, Nicki Ward, Account Executive, has helped raise a service dog through Canine Companions, https://canine.org. The organization will ultimately match the pup with a person with disabilities. Nicki also fosters rescue dogs until they find their “furever” homes.  

“I think that if everyone gives a little bit in ways that they’re passionate about, the world is just a better place. Plus, it 100 percent helps ‘fill my cup,’” notes Nicki. 

Meet Yumi Lewis, bringing STEM education to refugees

Yumi Lewis, Customer Success Manager, volunteers at a Phoenix Space, https://phoenixspace.org/, a nonprofit that provides refugees in the Middle East with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. She helps build partnerships between Phoenix Space and nonprofits, corporates, and charities while assisting with fundraising and marketing.  

Why does Yumi volunteer? She says she wants “to contribute to a cause in social justice. I want to feel part of something bigger than just myself, to challenge myself outside of work (while practicing the skills I use in my paid work). It also reminds me to practice gratitude for my privileges. The pandemic has only exacerbated inequalities of all kinds worldwide, and I felt compelled to get involved with a social project to support organizations that could benefit most from what I can offer.”

Ways to find out more about MLK and be of service

If you’d like to help uphold MLK’s legacy, here are a few ways to get involved.  Be of service for a day, week, or all year round from anywhere in the world.

You can:

You can also find out more about MLK Jr. and his remarkable life and legacy: 

  • Watch (feature films / documentaries / archived footage)
    • MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech (1963): “I Have a Dream” is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s seminal speech that he delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. In the speech, Dr. King called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States. 
    • “Free at Last – Martin Luther King, Jr.” (2018): The Emmy-award winning Free at Last is a documentary film that premiered in April 1968, within days of Dr. King’s assassination. Produced by NET’s Public Broadcasting Laboratory, the film follows Dr. King as he toured southern black communities, planning and organizing the Poor Peoples’ Campaign and the March on Washington.
    • Boycott (2001): Boycott is a made-for-TV biographical drama film based on the book Daybreak of Freedom by Stewart Burns. The film tells the story of the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott, which gave rise to the emergence of Dr. King, who is portrayed by actor Jeffrey Wright in the film. 
    • Selma (2014): Selma is an Academy Award-winning historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay, based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches, initiated and directed by minister and civil rights activist James Bevel. Dr. King and civil rights activists Hosea Williams and John Lewis led the marches. 


Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
 I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.


Want to take the next step in your career with good people who do good? Find your place here at impact.com.

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