VA medical centers across America will observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 17, with special ceremonies and activities.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service is a defining moment each year when Americans across the country step up to make our communities more equitable and take action to create the beloved community of Dr. King’s dream.

Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act.

The Atlanta VA will mark the day with displays and speakers.

There will be a Fireside Chat in the Chapel Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Guest speakers will include Sparkle Adams, retired master sergeant and president of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Black Military Women. She knew Dr. and Mrs. King. Also speaking will be Vede Brooks, Women’s Veteran Office director, State of Georgia.

On Jan. 14, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., the medical center will have an MLK Portrait and Video Tribute in their atrium. Photography and videos of Dr. King’s speeches will be on display.

National Day of Service

Observed each year on the third Monday in January, MLK Day is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

Whether you plan on cleaning up a public space, mentoring a young person or assisting those who are food insecure, what you do makes a world of difference.

While much work remains to fulfill Dr. King’s dream, VA remains committed to showing that service can help unify Americans of different backgrounds and experiences. Through service we can build more equitable and just communities to underpin racial equity, expand civic opportunities and foster respect for individual differences.

The global pandemic has opened our eyes wider to the inequity in our world. The time is now to act with swift urgency to deliver on the promise of Dr. King’s example and mission.

By Hans Petersen is an Air Force Veteran and writer/editor for the Veterans Health Administration

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Published on Jan. 17, 2022

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