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5 Meaningful Ways To Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

On Monday, Jan. 19, America celebrates the life of the great civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The federal holiday, known by different names in different states, is a day that reflects the values of peace, tolerance and diversity. As a relatively new holiday, it doesn't yet have firm and fast traditions. How will your family mark this day?

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1. Community Service

Dr. King's commitment to bettering community is a wonderful lesson that can be put into action. Federal legislation encourages volunteerism and giving back, so why not make a day out of it? Volunteer at a soup kitchen, pick up trash in a park or participate in a local event.

2. Host a Diversity Dinner

Martin Luther King Day is a time to celebrate diversity. Even if you have to work on this day, it's easy to make ahead a special dish that reflects a culture that is either your own or different. Try your hand at preparing food and drink from another part of the country or the world. Invite the neighbors over, especially those you don't know well. Involve your children by asking them to help prepare the dish and learn about the place of origin.

3. Cultural Crafts

One of Martin Luther King's greatest legacies was bridging cultural divides and promoting peace. Decorate your home with symbols of diversity. Browse online craft stores such as Michael's and buy online. For kids, buy craft paper in different skin-tone colors: white, tan, brown, yellow and black. Create a paper chain of alternating colors, or hand tracings, or a mosaic craft kit. Cut out doves or peace signs and make a collage.

4. Reading about Martin Luther King

Add books and media about MLK and the Civil Rights Movement to your collection. You can find online book coupons for such outlets as Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders and Abebooks. Find books and videos to teach children about Dr. King and his legacy, as well as the struggle for equality.

5. Find Your Own Place in the World

After you learn about the struggle for civil rights, take time to learn about your own roots. Ancestry.com and ShopFamilyTree.com are two good resources. Learn about your own country of origin and the struggles your ancestors may have endured. Turn a symbolic day into a meaningful journey of your own.

There are many ways to join in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy of peace and hope.

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