Skip Sub Menu

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service

Message from Erin Lain, Associate Provost for Campus Equity and Inclusion:

Monday, Jan. 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King. Drake is closed for the holiday, providing us the opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s extraordinary example.

This year, we have again been reminded of the tremendous work that still needs to be done to realize Dr. King’s dream. Marginalized communities still do not have equity in educational opportunities, economic parity, a life free from violence, and access to civil rights. George Floyd’s murder helped refocus many of our efforts on racial and social justice, but as Dr. King reminded us, our efforts must be ongoing and relentless.

On Monday, in addition to reflecting on your role in achieving a more equitable world, I encourage you to participate in various community events to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy. Please review the list below to see virtual opportunities and in-person events around central Iowa. However you choose to spend the day, let us remember that each of us has the ability to advance the values he stood for in our own lives and together as a campus community.

In-person volunteer opportunities:

  • Urban Dreams MLK Day of Service - Sign up for a 2-hour shift between 10am and 6pm. Projects could include cleaning and organizing, making thank you calls, distributing food, writing letters/postcards, or other tasks.
  • DMARC MLK Weekend of Service - Collect donations for DMARC at a local grocery store, Jan. 16-18.
  • Package meals with Meals From the Heartland.
  • Donate food or toiletries to a local Little Free Pantry or other food pantry.

Virtual volunteer opportunities:

Virtual educational opportunities:

  • "Race and Visibility" online art exhibit from Professor Lenore Metrick-Chen's class (Ongoing). 
  • 8th annual MLK Jr. Prayer Breakfast  (8-9:30am)
  • CultureAll's Open Book (9:30-11:30am) - Open Book is a unique project that creates connections and builds social cohesion through story sharing about things that matter to individuals and the community at large. 
  • Tricia Harris will speak on "Beloved Community and Six Principles of Nonviolence" as the Forest Ave Library MLK Day speaker at 3:30pm via Zoom. Harris worked at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. A question-and-answer session will follow her speech. To register for one of the limited number of virtual slots for the program, go to 
  • Undesign the Redline virtual tour (Ongoing) - Take a virtual tour of this Polk County Housing Trust Fund exhibit, which provides background on federal policies started in the 1930s which neighborhoods were worthy of investment specifically due to the race, ethnicity, and class of residents. These policies had a profoundly negative social and economic impact on those living in “undesirable” neighborhoods, especially African American residents, that persist to this day.
  • Careers in Social Change Panel on Community Organizing and Activism (Tuesday, Jan. 19, 4-5pm) - Sponsored by Drake Community Engaged Learning and Professional and Career Development Services. Hear from local professionals who have made a career out of community organizing and activism. Panelists include: Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, David Stone, Advocacy Officer with United Way of Central Iowa, and Courtney Dufford, Lead Organizer for AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy).

MLK Day of Service 2021 - downloadable handout

Jan. 18, 2021 is the 26th anniversary of the day of service that celebrates the Civil Rights leader's life and legacy. MLK Day of Service is observed the third Monday in January as a "day on, not a day off," and is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service. 




September 11th is a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

On this day Americans across the country are called to volunteer in their local communities.

Drake University will celebrate the day in 2020 with a number of events, being held virtually and in-person. 

  • Voter Pledge Drive - 10am-12pm. Fill out your pledge card that you will vote! Learn more about how to vote in the upcoming election. Helmick Commons. Contact
  • Pathways to Racial Justice and Allyship - Sept. 11, 12-1pm. Learn about different strategies to be an ally and work toward Racial Justice. Hear from current students and alums about ways they personally have gotten involved with racial justice efforts. Please register in advance. Sponsored by the Office of Community Engaged Learning, Office of Equity & Inclusion, and the Dean of Students Office. 
  • Reggie's Sleepout: At Home Edition - Sept. 4-13. Sleepout on your floor with your roommate or campout with your family. Raise awareness for youth homelessness in Iowa and raise funds for Iowa Homeless Youth Centers with this event that is typically held at the Drake Stadium each year. Contact for more information. 
  • Mask-making for Burt Boys and Girls Club - 4-6pm, Upper Olmsted CR 310/311. Help make youth masks for the members of the Burt Boys & Girls Club. Limited supplies will be provided, feel free to bring your own if you have any. No experience needed. Contact for more information. 
  • Drop donations of non-perishable foods or necessities off at one of the Little Free Food Pantries in the Drake Neighborhood. Student groups and university departments are also invited to "adopt" a pantry for a week and help make sure it gets filled - contact  
  • Participate in any of the volunteer opportunities listed on 
    Have another idea to give back? Create your own project! Post about your 9/11 Day of Service activities on social media using #DrakeServes and be entered into a raffle to win a #DrakeServes T-shirt featuring Griff!
Community News