Monday commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an American hero who championed the rights and dignity of all people, and endures today as a symbol of resistance in the face of government oppression. Here are three organizations to donate to on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to honor his sacrifice and civil rights legacy. Because, if there's any time to donate, it's now, just days before the inauguration of Donald Trump to president.
Just in case you're wondering whether the world still needs civil rights activists and activism, consider that despite the mark MLK left on the American civil rights movement, the public holiday honoring his memory is still under contention in several states. While the third Monday in January is observed by the federal government, and across all 50 states, there are many places that are still resisting honoring King, specifically.
In Lexington, Virginia, for example, the holiday is dedicated to the memories of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, both Confederate generals during the Civil War, the New York Times reported. The city government of Biloxi, Mississippi's Twitter account sent out a tweet calling MLK day, "Great Americans Day" this year, according to the Times, which was later deleted after starting a firestorm across Twitter. A press release sent out by Neuces Country Texas called the holiday "County Civil Rights Day," according to the Times.
If you think it's shocking MLK is still on the receiving end of these kind of sleights in 2017, consider making a donation to an organization to mark the holiday. Here are a few organizations to consider supporting to both honor and carry on King's message of tolerance, peace, and justice for all.
1. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change
Founded by King's widow, Coretta Scott King, The King Center seeks to educate and spread Dr. King's message of furthering civil rights for black people through nonviolent, peaceful protest. For just $3 you can become an "Activist Supporter" of the King Center.
2. Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Founded in 1996 by King protege Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., the Rainbow PUSH (People United to Serve Humanity) Coalition raises money to help improve the lives of marginalized Americans, serving as a "voice for the voiceless" and promoting "peace and justice around the world," according to the organization's site. From workshops and activism to scholarships, donations help advance the cause of civil rights in America and abroad.
3. NAACP Legal Defense Fund
More than 75 years old the NAACP LDF is a non-profit legal activist agency working to combat racial injustice and inequality in America's criminal justice system, and make the country's economic and educational prospects brighter for all Americans. These are the lawyers on the front lines of protecting civil rights in courtrooms across the country.
If you can't donate, reach out to these organizations for volunteer and other service opportunities. MLK Day 2017 is coordinated around the theme of serving our communities. If you're looking for an opportunity to roll up your sleeves and do what you can to honor King's legacy, you can go to the Corporation for National and Community Service to find opportunities to volunteer in your area.