Voting with Dr. King

The first time I voted, I was surrounded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Hear me out…)

The year was 2004, and I had lived in Boston for over a year, finding my footing on the snowy brick streets and around the tall buildings, a concrete jungle of learning and an unfamiliar home from my (sunny and warm) Texas roots. It was my first opportunity to vote in the US presidential election, and I was thrilled! Not only because I had attended countless elections on the coattails of my parents, watching as they carefully filled in the bubbles with those tiny pencils behind cardboard barriers. Not only because my dad included in his list of lessons in parenting to ensure I understood civic duty and the importance of being aware of the world and its politics. Not only because I had met two of the candidates in person. I was excited because they were serving local pizza to all who voted. College kid or not, people love free food.

The civil rights leader Martin Luther KIng (C) waves to supporters 28 August 1963 on the Mall in Washington DC AFP/Getty Images

Little did I know how holy the moment would be, when I waited in line (for what seemed like hours) to finally get into the warm library at Boston University. As soon as I entered, the dark wood on the walls and lush carpeting under my feet could not prepare me for what came next: standing in the middle of Dr. Martin Luther King’s archives! Large photos and accolades donned the walls, with lighted manuscripts and papers under glass cases, locked. As I faintly remembered Dr. King’s stint at Boston University for his doctorate, I wound my way around the room in line and peered at the beautiful photos, the haunting articles, the document under glass beginning with “I Have A Dream…”

When I was finally at the front of the line, I was then escorted to a table in the center of the room, surrounded by other voters of varied ages, ethnicities, experiences and opinions. Here we were, wrapped up in heavy coats and rain gear, suddenly warmed by the beautiful library and its glow, surrounded by Dr. King. His legacy was palpable, a rhythm of serendipity as I gingerly began to fill in those little bubbles with my own tiny pencil. Dr. King’s precence was all around us, in the spaces where he loved to perch and read, hours he spent in this space writing and connecting.

It has taken me over 17 years to understand what that day was about: YOU.

Today, we wake up knowing this is Dr. King’s day. And not just his day, but our communities’ day. When we mark this heroic man’s birthday, we look under the surface of his myriad of quotes, sure to fill your social media feed today. And we see a man who pointed toward God. We connect with a man who lived experiences many of us know all to well (the irrevocable pain of racism and White supremacy) and some of us without the experience are trying to understand. And, of all things to do today, we SERVE?

US legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking Dr. King’s birthday. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” Yes, SERVE. Because, when we serve:

  • we acknowledge that, as humans, we all depend on others for a life of love.
  • we work together for a common goal and good, bringing perspective and richness to each and all of our lives.
  • we work toward Dr. King’s vision of “Beloved Community.” And this work includes naming injustice, breaking down systems and ways of life that lift some and pain many.

Yes, we serve. Together. Through our service, we lean into Dr. King’s legacy–

We Vote with King.


Coming Up:

MLK Day of Service, January 17 — Our annual day of service in the example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life has two options this year: in person or online!

How Will You Serve?

Holmeswood MLK Volunteer Opportunities (in person): Noon to 2:00 pm at Holmeswood.

Local MLK Volunteer Opportunities (online or on your own schedule):

Harvesters – Decorate and Fill a donation bag

Decorate a paper bag and fill with most needed food items https://www.harvesters.org/how-to-help/volunteer/volunteer-from-home/decorate-and-fill-a-donation-bag

There is currently a national blood crisis, the worst blood shortage in over a decade. If you are able, consider donating blood at either Community Blood Center of Greater KC https://www.savealifenow.org/ or a nearby Red Cross center https://www.redcrossblood.org/. Appointments usually required at both places; sign up online today.

Harvesters – Cards for Seniors

Help make the day brighter for seniors in your community by coloring one (or more!) of these punny cards (visit link for examples to print and details)! These cards will be included in our Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) boxes. https://www.harvesters.org/how-to-help/volunteer/volunteer-from-home/create-cards-for-seniors

Happy Kits for Children’s Mercy patients

Create a Happy Kit for a preschool, school-aged or teen patient undergoing care at Children’s Mercy. Our youth group has made these, and they are fun and simple to put together! https://www.childrensmercy.org/ways-to-give/volunteer-at-the-hospital/happy-kits/

Support Local Anti-Racism Organizations

Consider donating resources (time, funds, etc.) to local anti-racism and social justice organizations in town: Missouri ACLU, More2, NAACP-KC, PeaceWorks). Also, please consider donating to Holmeswood Baptist under “Current Mission Project” to provide most current and needed support to our greater community and mission partners (including More2!). http://holmeswood.org/donate
Leave a comment on how you plan to serve this weekend and on MLK Day.

All-Church Game Night – Join us Friday, January 21 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Everyone is invited to a good old-fashioned game night! We will have tables set up for board games and floor space for games like Twister, as all ages are welcome to join in the competitive fun. Please bring your favorite game or a snack to share. Friday, January 21 from 6:00-8:00 pm at church. (If we have inclement weather that day, please check January 21’s What’s Happening email or Facebook page to find out if the event will take place.) Hope to see you there!

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