By Eustacia A. English – NRWA DEI Columnist
Wow! Just like that, 2022 is here. I hope you all had an amazing holiday and were able to do what you love. I use the holiday season to connect with family, have Christmas fun with my husband and kids, and reflect on the previous year and prepare for the new year.
During my reflection time, I write in my new planner and prepare for what lies ahead. There’s something about a new year that has always excited me since I was a child. As a child, it was all about staying up late and watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve and seeing the big shiny ball drop in New York City. Growing older, I would fall asleep before midnight and wake up the next day feeling renewed.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions and rather focus on goal setting. I get this from my father. As a child and then young adult, my father always had a family meeting on the second Sunday of the new year. A meeting of the minds to talk about our family goals. We discussed a savings plan, school, summer vacations, and any topic my brother and I wanted to add to the discussion.
As an adult with my own family, I do the same with a twist. I write in my planner and create my vision board that visually depicts my goals for the new year. Each year, one goal on my vision board includes how I can serve and inspire others in a meaningful way, just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King once said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born Michael King, Jr. on January 15, 1929. Dr. King was a Baptist minister and social activist who led the civil rights movement. Dr. King believed in liberty and justice for all, peace and service. In 1963, during the March on Washington, Dr. King delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech is known for being one of the most famous speeches to date and truly affected change in the United States. One year after his speech, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law, marking the most significant advances in civil rights legislation.
Each year, I reread the “I Have a Dream” speech to remind myself how far we have come and that we still have work to do as a nation, as police brutality and racial injustice are still alive. Dr. King had dreams of equality and a belief that “somehow this situation can and will be changed.” Each year, I honor Dr. King and look to make a positive change in the lives of others through volunteering. He once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
On Monday, January 17, 2022, communities across the country will celebrate Dr. Martin Luther Jr. Day of Service (MLK Day), signed into law as a federal holiday in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan. MLK Day is celebrated on the third Monday of January each year and marks the birthday of the civil rights leader and nonviolent activist. The day is dedicated to encouraging Americans to participate in community service.
As we embark on this new year, I want you to think about what you can do this year to help others. Here are a few things to get you started: volunteering at a food pantry, making hygiene kits for the homeless, partnering with organizations that support battered women and men, remembering our veterans, and free of charge resumes/coaching sessions for those transitioning to the civilian workforce.
If you are local to the South Jersey/Philadelphia area, MLK365 is a great organization to partner with. If you are at a loss for ideas, Google is your friend. Keep in mind that serving others does not always have to be physical, monetary, or take time away from your daily routine. Sharing information and access to resources with friends and family could also go a long way. Knowledge is power, and you never know how you could potentially help someone.
In 2022, let us remember to focus on small things we can do in a great way and create moments that matter for others. Wishing you all continued peace, love, happiness, and blessings in 2022.
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Eustacia English writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year veteran of HR and talent acquisition and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her new husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at LinkedIn.com/in/ecampbell05.