3 Ways to Serve & Advocate on MLK Day

14 January 2023

Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue in Washington DC.
WASHINGTON DC - The Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, featuring a portrait of the civil rights leader carved in granite, was dedicated by President Barack Obama in 2011.

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Service comes through countless forms: a helping hand, a guiding light, a commitment to give more than one takes. The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — honored each year on the third Monday of January — embodied a spirit of service, accompaniment, and tireless advocacy throughout his life. In championing the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 until his assassination in 1968, King employed many lessons from the schools of civil disobedience and non-violence preached by Christian texts and Mahatma Gandhi.

Today, as millions around the United States and the world honor his legacy, we draw on three distinct actions in the spirit of service that you can take to protect refugees and displaced persons. No action is too small. No good intention is too minor to act on.

As he said at the Oberlin College commencement ceremony of 1965, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

Now, make the commitment to contribute your part in service.

1. Sign up for JRS Action Alerts to receive updates

With more than 84 million people displaced worldwide, it can feel daunting to figure out how to help. At JRS/USA, we think that, no matter where you live there are ways that you can respond to today’s refugee crisis. Action Alerts give you weekly or monthly updates on refugee policy, people, and legislation that matter most. Sign up today.

2. Start an Action Team at your high school, university, or parish

A JRS Refugee Action Team is a group of individuals dedicated to organizing their own community to support displaced people around the world through raising awareness, advocacy, fundraising, and other programming centered on refugees. JRS Refugee Action Teams are diverse in their membership and scope. A Refugee Action Team can be created at a school or on a college campus, in a parish, or with any group interested in promoting greater understanding of, and support for, refugees and the forcibly displaced. Learn more today.

3. Share a story and spread awareness to friends, family, and colleagues

Storytelling is the human bedrock of awareness and advocacy for powerful causes. Discover the hundreds of stories from across JRS programs in more than 55 countries worldwide. From Chad to Iraq, Thailand to Colombia, share the voice of a refugee that sparks another to take action.