Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Extends Beyond the U.S.

A group of children around a book with Martin Luther King Jr. of the coverThis Monday, January 16th, the U.S. will pause and remember the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. He would have been 82 this year and I wish we could hear what he would have to say now. There are many things Dr. King did well, but the one I associate with him most was his encouragement to see ourselves in others--to instead of fighting, to see that we are bound together. That’s not to deny our differences, which King didn’t deny. We do have differences and there is a painful system of power and privilege that allows some to live with less struggle at other’s expense, but to see our commonalities and the pillars of humanity that exist in each of us is what helps us to step away from that system to create another one.

At Firelight, we see many tireless leaders who have a vision of a better world today and for their children’s future. They wake up each day and ask what they can do for others and despite struggle and sometimes fear, they see their vision become clearer in each step they take toward it. Knowing this, we see that the legacy of Dr. King carries far past the boundaries of the United States. Last year, a young boy in Zambia told us that the book about Martin Luther King Jr. was by far the most popular book in the library (this is the picture you see at the top of this blog). It’s nice to hear that some of our finer points from the U.S. are reflected on with our global partners and friends.

There are multitudes of leaders who will never appear in history books that lead our world into peace and service every day--African leaders like Saeed Wame who works with 5,000 volunteers who help him to support vulnerable children in Malawi and Louis Mwewa in Zambia who acts as a sounding board and mentor for over 35 organizations improving children’s wellbeing. Here at Firelight's office, over 20 volunteers provide hours and hours of service to help us continue our work with 134 grantee partners. Last year, 288 donors personally contributed to our vision and actions toward a brighter future for African children.

Martin Luther King Jr. represents hope and community that comes together for a better, a more just world. We work to keep that legacy alive here through our connections to all of you and through the important work that happens when our communities come together for a common goal—improving vulnerable children’s lives so that they can rely on their next meal, feel the love of their family and community, look forward to a bright future and a world that embraces them and their dreams.

We'd love to hear from you and how you will be spending this National Day of Service. Will you be volunteering at a local organization?  Helping your neighbors? Let us know how in your way you are in service to others. It doesn't take a large action to be of service to one another.