Perspectives—MLK’s Legacy: Serving Others for the Shalom of our Community
By Jim Wambach | January 15, 2022
“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King Jr.Today we celebrate the life, the work, and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite the pervasive, systemic racial injustice he experienced—and is still prevalent today— his vision for what is possible in America was full of optimism. Despite encountering and ultimately falling to the worst in humanity, he was able to see the reservoirs of goodness as well. He became a beacon of hope and light for the oppressed, the marginalized, the voiceless.
Racially-biased structures continue to be deeply rooted in many aspects of our society, including the criminal justice, healthcare, and education systems. The result is that generation after generation of Americans, mostly Black and Latino, live in the shadows of poverty, violence, fear, and inequity.
Together We Serve for Racial Justice
Serving others—nurturing and equipping the children in our community—is the core of Children Rising’s mission. As Dr. King reminded us, to serve, “You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Through the softening of individual hearts, and a simple decision to act out of grace and compassion, we can realize Dr. King’s vision. It reflects Children Rising’s faith-inspired foundation from Jeremiah 29:7, to “Seek the shalom of the city where I have sent you.” Shalom—the health, welfare, and prosperity of the community. To seek the shalom of this wonderful community, we must serve the community. And through service, we may all achieve greatness. Together, we can become a beacon of hope and light in this world.
Through the softening of individual hearts, and a simple decision to act out of grace and compassion, we can realize Dr. King’s vision.
As an organization, we are inspired to strengthen our commitment to equal education for all children. Indeed, educational inequity continues to be at the heart of why so many people of color continue to suffer under the weight of societal ills.
We also believe in the overall goodness of our neighbors, and seek to provide opportunities where the broader community can serve in support of the children and teachers in our urban public schools.
Serving the vulnerable and marginalized in our society promotes understanding and compassion. An increased spirit of service will open more ears to listen and more eyes to better see. We will approach a new era of community—a community of fairness and equality for all, regardless of the color of our skin.
As you take the day to reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King, I encourage you to consider purposeful ways of serving your community. Meaningful change—personal and societal—starts when individuals put good intentions into action.