Addressing Racial Inequality on MLK Day of Service

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is an opportunity to honor the legacy of Dr. King, and continue his mission to empower and strengthen local communities. While many Americans will choose to make an immediate impact by volunteering at school and park clean-up projects, food banks and homeless shelters, many others will join United Way and our partners in longer term work to address racial inequality and social justice.

In Seattle, Washington, United Way of King County is partnering with Restaurant Opportunity Centers United on a MLK Day of service project to raise awareness of racial segregation in Seattle’s restaurant industry. As part of an Annual MLK Day Celebration at Garfield High School in Seattle, volunteers will hand out information about the issue, gather support for the initiative, and survey restaurant employees to better understand their experiences.


In Ohio, United Way of Greater Toledo’s African American Leadership Society has organized the Real Men Read-Y program, an initiative that pairs young African-American boys with African-American “MENtors”. On MLK Day, the program will focus in-depth on the civil rights movement and explore what Dr. King meant in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Other United Ways will provide a space for residents to discuss racial inequality in their neighborhoods. In Macon, Georgia, United Way of Central Georgia will facilitate a community conversation that focuses on the meaning of community and the work of Dr. John Hope Franklin, a champion of the civil rights movement.

What are you doing to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on MLK Day of Service? Contact your local United Way or visit to learn more about projects and programs taking place in your community and nationwide.