8 Ways to Work for Equity on MLK Day

Jan 10, 2021

In his 1963 book “Strength to Love,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “The ultimate measure of a man is … where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

In the past 12 months as we witnessed more instances of ongoing police violence against African Americans—as well as the overwhelming and disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on communities of color—the underlying inequities in American life became clearer than ever. Millions joined the fight for racial justice and equity in their local communities and across the nation.

Aligning with the fight for equity, United Way of Greater Fall River’s work focuses on health, education and financial stability for every person in our community, particularly those in traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

We, as a community, can and must do better to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in Greater Fall River are protected. We must all do our part, working United, to make our community a place where everyone has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive.

To that end, we are calling on you to join us in the fight for equity and justice in Greater Fall River. On January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, consider taking one or more of the following actions in order to honor Dr. King’s legacy and keep up his work in the 21st century.


1. Volunteer with United Way of Greater Fall River. Join us on this National Day of Service by choosing a volunteer activity from VolunteerSouthcoast.org.

2. Educate yourself about systemic racism and oppression. Spend a few hours on Martin Luther King Jr. Day reading, watching, or listening in order to learn more about our country’s history of racial injustice and how people are organizing for change.

  • To Read
    • The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Historical Foundations of Race by The National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • To Watch
    • Systemic Racism Explained: Civil Rights Movement on PBS
    • 13TH: Director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system
  • To Listen
    • How Race Was Made SceneOn Radio

3. Sign and share a petition. Good options include:

  • NAACP: #WeAreDoneDying campaign
  • Color of Change: End the War on Black People

4. Support local minority-owned businesses and restaurants. Check out www.buyblacknb.com for Black-owned businesses on the Southcoast

5. Call or write your local or state officials to express your support for policies that promote racial justice. Not sure who to contact? Click here: malegislature.gov/search/findmylegislator

6. Join Greater Fall River’s local NAACP chapter. The organization is open to everyone, no matter your race or ethnic background. Besides regular meetings and work with local municipal governments, they post a lot of educational content on their blogs and social media channels.

7. Talk to a child in your life about race. Reading a book is an easy way to teach this complex concept to children:

  • A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
  • Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham
  • A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  • Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen

These ideas are just a few ways you can get started. The fight for racial justice and equity should continue beyond MLK Day. It will take everyone working together, year-round, United for equity, United for change.

As Dr. King once said, “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.”