Nonprofit Resources’ Diversity Task Force includes: Emily Bremmon, Christine Do, Emily Lynch, and Brittany Quinn
January 17, marks the 27th anniversary of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Today we celebrate the civil rights leader’s birthday, his teachings, and his extraordinary life of service. Nonprofit Resources commemorates MLK Day by highlighting our nonprofit peers who honor and uplift Dr. King’s legacy by answering the call to service.
During his lifetime, Martin Luther King Jr. grappled with many national issues, including but not limited to segregation, wage equity, housing, workers’ rights, union representation, and voting rights. Reflecting on his leadership and the challenges he navigated, it’s clear there is still work to be done.
Nonprofit Resources recognizes the following nonprofits that are leading the way by empowering individuals, strengthening their communities, bridging barriers, and creating solutions to social inequities and issues.
- The Trevor Project
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference
- Southern Poverty Law Center
- The Poor People’s Campaign
- Equal Justice Initiative
- A. Phillip Randolph Institute
- Brennan Center for Justice
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Dr. King’s multifaceted view on human rights still inspires today. His indomitable spirit, advocacy for the voiceless, and his powerful presence still ring true at podiums and pulpits across the country. Today, we reflect on the strength of our own communities. We do not ask for anything more than equality, and we will settle for nothing less. Until our society, with justice at its foundation, is equal, we must continue to “lift every voice and sing”.
“This year, more than any in recent times, the onus on all of us should be to take back Martin Luther King Day from the emphasis on top-down, one-day, feel-good volunteer fix-up projects and refocus attention on strategies and actions to address racial inequity and injustice today.” (Former Attorney General Eric Holder)
Here’s a list of Nonprofit Resource’s favorite resources. Please join us as we equip ourselves to “face the fact that tomorrow is today [and] we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”
Branch, Taylor. Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65. Beginning with the Nation of Islam and conflict over racial separatism, Pillar of Fire takes the reader to Mississippi and Alabama: Birmingham, the murder of Medgar Evers, the “March on Washington,” the Civil Rights Act, and voter registration drives. In 1964, King is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Branch’s trilogy makes clear why the Civil Rights Movement, and indeed King’s leadership, are among the nation’s enduring achievements. In bringing these decades alive, preserving the integrity of those who marched and died, Branch gives us a crucial part of our history and heritage.
King, Martin Luther. In a Single Garment of Destiny: A Global Vision of Justice. From his own words, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. writes about his collaboration with other national and international figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert J. Luthuli, and Thich Nhat Hanh on his positions on global liberation struggles. He extends his vision for civil rights onto a global scale, recognizing that civil rights require a pluralistic approach.
King, Martin Luther. All Labor Has Dignity. Containing 15 different documents from 1957-1968, this book presents a different Dr. King than what one is usually accustomed to. The collection demonstrates Dr. King’s systematic and concerted efforts to unite the civil rights movement with the concurrent labor movement. His economic justice platform is explored in the framework of human and civil rights, that none could exist without the other.
Harding, Vincent. Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero. In these eloquent essays that reflect upon King’s legacy over the past two decades and the meaning of his life today to fight against all forms of oppression, a portrait emerges of a man constantly evolving and going deeper into the roots of violence and injustice–a man whose challenge remains as timely and necessary as ever.
Morrison, Toni. The Source of Self-Regard. Spanning four decades worth of work, Toni Morrison reflects on the numerous social and political movements of recent. She tackles the timelessness of mass movements, and the variety of ways in which “to lessen suffering, to know the truth and tell it, to raise the bar of humane expectation.”
World House Podcast from Stanford University’s The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute. This podcast series shares the work of the King Institute to archive and publish a definitive collection of the works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the process, researchers continue to learn remarkable details about Dr. King at every stage of his life. Through these 21 podcasts, notable scholars and historians discuss key events and the influences leading up to them.
On Purpose with Jay Shetty: “Interviews with the Dearly Departed: Martin Luther King, Jr.”. Dr. King shares the best advice he received from his mother, why we treat others wrong, and what your life’s blueprint should include for a meaningful human experience. He also explains his dissatisfaction with the results that followed his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.”
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Memphis in 1968 to march with sanitation workers who were protesting low wages and poor working conditions. Cleophus Smith marched with him. He’s still on the job. (5 min.)
The Civil Rights History Project, authorized in 2009, is a national survey of existing oral history collections with relevance to the Civil Rights movement to obtain justice, freedom, and equality for African Americans. Over the course of the project, many individuals that were active in national organizations relating to the Civil Rights movement were interviewed. The video recordings of their recollections cover a wide range of topics within the freedom struggle, such as the influence of the labor movement, nonviolence and self-defense, religious faith, music, and the experiences of young activists.
The National Civil Rights Museum traces the history of the civil rights movement in the United States from the 17th century to the present. The museum is built around the former Lorraine Motel, which was the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
Full Martin Luther King Jr. Speeches are on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3IufkL5KPVhAa7EgaO2tos?si=ZenFtB98SnO8w9rcKW8zRg
Nonprofit Quarterly “Time to Take Back Martin Luther King Jr Day” https://nonprofitquarterly.org/time-to-take-back-martin-luther-king-jr-day/
McKinsey and Company Institute for Black Economic Mobility
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT NONPROFITS CONTINUING THE WORK:
The King Center: https://thekingcenter.org
Established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) has been a global destination, resource center, and community institution for over a quarter-century. The King Center is a 501(c)3. Nearly a million people each year make pilgrimage to the National Historic Site to learn, be inspired, and pay their respects to Dr. King’s legacy.
Both a traditional memorial and programmatic nonprofit, the King Center was envisioned by its founder to be “no dead monument, but a living memorial filled with all the vitality that was his, a center of human endeavor, committed to the causes for which he lived and died.” That vision was carried out through educational and community programs until Mrs. King’s retirement in the mid-1990s, and today it’s being revitalized.
Their work focuses on education and Nonviolence365 © training, a leadership academy, resources for teaching about King’s legacy, hosting community talks, and coordinating volunteer opportunities.
This year, the King family will be marching for voting rights in Arizona to mobilize support for stalled federal voting rights legislation. Read more here.
The Trevor Project
There is no shortage of nonprofits that seek to protect and secure human rights for the LGBTQ community. This reminds us: As King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, continued his work, LGBTQ rights were among the many challenges for which she fought until she died in 2006. To that end, The Trevor Project stands out as it offers crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to at-risk LGBTQ youth. One focus for the organization is its “50 Bills, 50 States” campaign, which seeks to end the harmful practice of conversion therapy in every U.S. state.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which dates back to King’s leadership and victory with the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1957, is still going strong as it grooms young leaders to this day. The SCLC’s various chapters across the U.S. take on various social challenges, including leading the fight against injustice, boosting voter registration, and ending human trafficking.
Southern Poverty Law Center
Violent hate crimes have been increasing over the past few years here in the U.S. For almost half a century, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been monitoring hate groups, in addition to promoting tolerance through various education programs.
Poor People’s Campaign:
This campaign takes its cue from one of King’s last planned initiatives before he was assassinated in April 1968. Like the one King was intent on pursuing, the Poor People’s Campaign seeks to confront problems including systemic racism, poverty, and environmental degradation in an attempt to give a voice to poor and marginalized communities. Activists working within this movement launched two successful initiatives during the summers of 2018 and 2019; this summer, with the 2020 election in mind, the Poor People’s Campaign plans to broaden its work to reach what it describes as the 140 million Americans who experience, or are at risk for, discrimination, financial struggles or environmental injustice on a daily basis.
Equal Justice Initiative:
The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, challenging racial and economic injustice, and protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. Their work focuses on providing legal representation to those who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentenced, or abused in state jails and prisons. They also work with communities marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.
A. Philip Randolph Institute:
The A. Philip Randolph Institute is an advocacy organization fighting for civil rights and labor rights. It is an LGBTQ-related group from its out co-founder, Bayard Rustin. Rustin was a longtime advisor to Dr. King and introduced him to Gandhi’s principles on non-violence, in addition to assisting in organizing the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King would deliver his famous “I Have A Dream” speech.
And here is how some of the Nonprofit Resources staff will be celebrating MLK Day:
All Peoples Celebration (Virtual, based out of San Diego, CA): Alliance San Diego offers a virtual event this year to bring together community members, faith leaders, civil rights leaders, labor organization leaders, and others to gather and reflect on the teachings of Dr. King and what it means to build an inclusive democracy and manifest Dr. King’s vision of the “beloved community.” The history of the All Peoples Celebration is rooted in the history of the Black community in San Diego.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Walk and Parade (Washington, DC): The Peace Walk is coordinated by the Coalition for Peace, a group of individuals and non-profits dedicated to peace and positivity for the Washington DC metropolitan communities. Over a thousand ‘Peace Walkers’ join annually in the two-mile walk along MLK Ave in Southeast DC.
The World Arts Foundation Inc is presenting KEEP ALIVE THE DREAM at the historical Hollywood Theater in SE Portland, OR. This historical film documents African-American communities in Oregon honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1978, WAFI has hosted an annual MLK tribute event. With King’s work as a guide, KEEP ALIVE THE DREAM highlights pioneering activists, community leaders, artists, musicians, and youth whose valiant efforts have left lasting impacts in Oregon’s African-American community. In addition to the film, the program will feature live music and a Q & A with community members.
Portland State University’s MLK Living The Legacy Series Rev. Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. has dedicated the majority of his life to the pursuit of racial justice and religious faith. In addition to earning a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate of ministry, Dr. Haynes has also served as a youth organizer for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a field organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and a co-organizer of the Black Panther Party.