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Connective Issues: A UMass Chan diversity and inclusion blog

Martin Luther King Jr. Day call for acts of service as means of celebration

Tuesday, January 09, 2024
By:  Janjay Innis
Member of UMass Chan engaging in Day of Caring
Members of the UMass Chan engaging in Day of Caring.
This month, corporate entities, universities, nonprofit organizations, municipalities and countless other groups will gather to celebrate the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
 Dr. King’s legacy of seeking equality and justice and speaking truth to power was motivated by his ethic of service to humanity. Each year, UMass Chan Medical School’s annual program in celebration of Dr. King is predicated on his quote, “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve.” In his sermon “The Drum Major Instinct,King preached  that the natural impulse for recognition often rooted in our ego can be redefined, and make us great if redirected for the sake of the greater good.  

During the Medical School’s annual celebration of King on Jan. 31, students will be recognized for projects that will positively impact the health of the local community. Additionally, a member of the community will be awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. These intentional moments of recognition show that service, when done out of love for people and for the sake of fostering a more equitable and inclusive environment, does not go unnoticed.  

Intrinsic to its values as a medical school community, UMass Chan offers numerous opportunities to serve the local community through the UMass Chan Cares Volunteer Initiative, organized by the Office of Community and Government Relations. Employees may take up to 16 hours of paid time off in each calendar year to perform volunteer services.  

Service helps us build a connection to where we live and work and it gives us a collective sense of responsibility in making a difference. Service does not need to be grandiose to be transformational, and as the entirety if King’s quote states, You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.” Let us honor Dr. King on his birthday and every day by committing to service.