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More Ways for All Ages to Learn and Serve on MLK DAY

Additional Opportunities to Learn and Serve on MLK Day

Although we will not be hosting our MLK Day of Service in person this year, we would like to provide volunteers meaningful ways to honor the extraordinary legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We have some suggestions for individuals or families to engage in productive activities to help advance social justice in this unsettling year of racial strife. We are inviting volunteers to make the no-sew blankets that have been a part of our MLK Day of Service since we began in 2005. See below for project details and drop-off requirements.

Also listed on this page are additional educational and impactful service resources for people of all ages and interest levels.


No-Sew Blanket Project Details

I. Make your blanket(s) in your own home, then drop them off at the Community House either on MLK Day or the following Saturday. We will deliver them to local nonprofits that support at-risk and homeless communities.

II. Drop off your completed blanket(s) at the Community House on MLK Day, Monday, January 18th or January 23rd between 10am and 1pm only on both those days. The VC board members will be collecting the blankets at the Community House in Winnetka in the Pine Street Parking lot entrance with the large awning.

III. You may purchase your own four yards of fabric at a local fabric store, or buy one of the Volunteer Center’s limited supply of 36 blanket sets (includes four yards of fleece fabric) we have available for $20 each.

  • NOTE: If you are interested in buying one or more of our 36 blanket sets, email the Volunteer Center at info@volunteercenterhelps.org for information about how to reserve your blanket sets and when and where to pick them up. The blankets are on a first come-first served basis and we will have them available until all sets are purchased.

IV. Blanket Instructions

Additional MLK Day Educational and Service Resources

People across the United States may choose to make an immediate impact with hands-on traditional service projects that support the homeless and other poverty stricken communities, but there are other ways to honor Dr. King’s legacy of furthering equality and civil rights in a direct, educational way that helps us understand and support racial justice. This is an opportunity to honor the legacy of Dr. King, and continue his mission to empower and strengthen local communities.

*Please participate in the HEROS – Healing Everyday Racism in our Schools Virtual Workshop, Jan 17th, 2-4pm:In partnership with HEROS, the Volunteer Center is proud to invite N.E. Metro Community Members to register for this Virtual Workshop on Sunday, January 17th from 2-4pm. Educational and productive online workshop that features five breakout Session appropriate for adults, parents and teens to learn how we can become The Beloved Community. Additional information and Registration here.

A note about volunteerism in honor of Dr. MLK, Jr.: Dr. Bernice King (Daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King and Director of The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia): ”And so in terms of volunteerism, this is a marathon that we’re talking about when you are committing to eradicating, dismantling racism. It’s not a sprint. It’s not a singular act. It’s continual struggle, it’s continual work, it’s continual education, it’s continual stretching, it’s continually getting out of your comfort zone, it’s continually being willing to share power. It’s continual sacrifice.”

The United Way of Illinois Launches ’21 Week Equity Challenge. Participate!

From Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/18) to Juneteenth (6/19), participants will complete weekly learning assignments about equity, racism, bias and more. The 15-minute assignments include readings, videos, and questions for participants to consider. Upon completion, they’ll receive a digital certificate and tips and tools to help continue the conversation in their local community. Information and registration here.

This MLK Day on Monday, January 18th, the organization 9/11 Day encourages you to honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by taking a moment to visit 911day.org and performing one of the good deeds we’ve curated in observance of the 26th annual MLK Day of Service. As a federally recognized day of service, we at 9/11 Day are proud to support MLK Day. Our website features more than 50 activities you can consider for MLK Day or any other day of the year. Most of our online service ideas are 100% free for you to perform and can all be completed quickly and safely from your own home computer or mobile device.

Please take a moment now to visit 911day.org to learn more. Also consider visiting the official federal website for MLK Day as well.

Join an MLK Day On-line Observance, The Beloved Community Global Summit on January 14th and 15th

Sponsored by The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. This is an opportunity for mission aligned individual organizations who are dedicated to creating the Beloved Community to come together and share ideas. Participants will hear from a myriad of national and international individuals who share their vision for a more just, humane, equitable and peaceful world. https://thekingcenter.org/event/2021-king-holiday-observance-beloved-community-global-summit/

From the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS – Americorps)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Historical timeline of the Day, Traditions, MLK Day Stats, and How to Observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Support the Efforts of The Lawndale Christian Legal Center (LCLC) – An Important Restorative Justice Organization

Lawndale Christian Legal Center: “We can put just justice back in the criminal justice system. We’ve already begun in North Lawndale, one of the most segregated, under-resourced and heavily policed neighborhoods in Chicago.” LCLC is working to break the arrest/incarcerate/release/repeat cycle that continues to threaten young lives and decimate the North Lawndale community. They negotiate peace within the community and help emerging adults find a more constructive solution to repair harm than incarceration. This is a valuable opportunity for those who work within the criminal justice system. Join their efforts – LCLC.net


Your children are for the most part not too young to learn to understand ways to embrace people of all colors, abilities and cultures. Understanding the history of racism and how far we still need to go to create Dr. King’s “Beloved Community” in this country is an essential part of volunteer participation.

YOUTH SERVICE AMERICA -YSA– Youth Changing the Worldhttp://ysa.org/antiracist/

Resource for Youth of all ages like how to plan and implement and Anti-Racist Service Project, toolkits for Youth changing the World, Kits

YSA Book/Reading Lists for Youth

TIME: https://time.com/5848192/childrens-books-about-race/

Embrace Race- 20 Picture Books for 2020: Readings to Embrace Race, Provide Solace & Do Good


10 Children’s Books About Racism And Activism To Help Parents Educate Their Kids




• Do the necessary work: Before you can take actions against racism, it’s important that you do the necessary work.  You need to not only do the research to understand the issues, but need to do some self-reflection about your views on racism as well.      

• Power in the people: The real solutions come from the power of the people. You need to first listen to understand the issues and then have the right people at the table.  

• Move from being safe to brave: Safe won’t solve the problems that we’re in, so we have to be brave to speak truth to power.  We have to challenge thoughts and know that in doing so we may make people uncomfortable.  

• We created these systems of inequity: When it comes to systemic racism, it’s important to remember these systems were created by people.  We are all a part of a system, and to dismantle racism we need to make individual commitments to not be silent in these environments. 

• We have the power to create change: We as individuals collectively have the power to change what we’re calling, systemic racism by starting with ourselves and making a commitment in the environments where we find ourselves. We need to ensure we are identifying and exposing systems of racism, while offering suggestions on how we build a new table with everyone at the table represented. 



IBRAM X. KENDI is a New York Times bestselling author and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. A professor of history and international relations and a frequent public speaker, Kendi is a columnist at The Atlantic. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.


The following questions were provided to enlist thought provoking discussion opportunities to understand Anti-Racism.

  1. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi shares his own experience with racist thinking. How does his honesty help give us space to acknowledge and name our own racist behaviors and attitudes?
  2. Kendi writes, “The only way to undo racism is to constantly identify it and describe it—and then dismantle it.” Why does he believe we need to call out racism when we see it, even if it can be uncomfortable to identify?
  3. The book’s central message is that the opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” The true opposite
    of “racist” is antiracist. “The good news,” Kendi writes, “is that racist and antiracist are not xed identities. We can be racist one minute and an antiracist the next.” What does it mean to have to constantly rea rm your identity as an antiracist? Is there any benefit to the fact that you can’t just decide you are “not racist” or an antiracist and be done with it?
  4. What is the first step you, personally, will take in striving to be an antiracist? How will you check yourself and hold yourself accountable if you notice you, or someone else, is being racist?
  5. Kendi thinks that we should assess candidates as being racist or antiracist based on what ideas they are expressing and what policies they are supporting—and not what they say is in their bones or their heart. Do you agree with him? Why or why not?
  6. Anyone who values immigrants from European countries and devalues immigrants from Latin America is guilty of racism. Have you ever been guilty of this type of racism? Discuss the unique resilience and resourcefulness people possess if they leave everything in their native country behind and immigrate to another, as Kendi examines in the chapter on Ethnicity.
  7. There’s a stronger and clearer correlation between levels of violent crime and unemployment levels than between violent crime and race, but that’s not the story policymakers have chosen to tell. Discuss why you think this is. How might our society and culture change if policymakers characterized dangerous Black neighborhoods as dangerous unemployed neighborhoods?
  8. Why do you think it is so hard for people to not assess other cultures from their own cultural standards? How does doing this trap people in racist ideas?
  9. Inequities between Light and Dark African Americans can be as wide as inequities between Black and White Americans. How have you seen colorism play out in real life and/or in the media?
  • Kendi writes, “White supremacist is code for anti-human, a nuclear ideology that poses an existential threat to human existence.” How are white supremacists and their ideology actually harmful to all of humanity—including white people?
  • Kendi makes the case that to be antiracist, one must stand against all forms of bigotry. Why is standing against other bigotries so essential to standing against racism?
  • Kendi closes the book comparing racism and cancer. What do you think of this comparison?
  • Kendi believes we can defy the odds, heal society of racism, and create an antiracist society. Do you? Why is hope so central to the antiracist movement?