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Ohioans Make MLK a "Day On," Not a Day Off

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January 16, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Ohioans are encouraged honor the civil rights leader's legacy by making the holiday a "day on" - not a day off. The MLK Day of Service is a call for all Americans to serve their neighbors and communities.

The Rev. Joel King Jr. of Columbus is a first cousin of the late Dr. King. He shares the belief that service is a common ground on which people from all walks of life can meet to address important community issues. He offers some suggestions for reaching out to others.

"Get involved in community activities; encourage people to register to vote; help those in a rest home who are unable to have someone to come to see them right now; go visit a prison. Just go by and talk to a neighbor that you 'ain't talked to' all year."

Beyond today's efforts, King encourages people to make service part of their everyday lives. Today across the state, volunteers will work on a variety of service activities, including writing cards to military members, organizing food and clothing drives, and helping with neighborhood cleanup projects. To find a service project near you, go to http://mlkday.gov/.

King, who is vice chair of the Ohio Dr. MLK Jr. Holiday Commission, says many people have forgotten the importance and the intention of the MLK holiday, but Ohioans can help to change that by bettering their own communities.

"Most important is keeping his dream alive in our state, since we are a swing state - and not only in the national elections. We are a test site for everything else, politically, so we can be a test site to show the rest of America how we ought to live as good American citizens."

The federal MLK holiday was created in 1983, and in 1994, Congress passed legislation to make it a National Day of Service.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH