Posted by Tess Waggoner on January 21, 2020 at 10:53 AM

The great Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

“Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life? There is no deficit in human resources. The deficit is in human will.” 

On Sunday, January 19th, 2020, we summoned that human will to honor Dr. King's profound legacy for MLK Day of Service. Arab American Generations series participants and AAI staff joined Islamic Relief-USA and other community groups to combat hunger. This collaboration brought nearly 400 volunteers together to assemble 100,000 meals to help our neighbors in the DC area.  

As the event kicked off, we heard a recording of Dr. King's iconic "I Have A Dream" speech, and focused our commitment to serving our local community. Volunteers were spread out across tables in the massive indoor track at Episcopal High School in Virginia, where we were organized into assembly lines. We produced bags of jambalaya, sealing and packing them into boxes to go to the Captial Area Food Bank for distribution. 

 See video of that assembly line in action: 


Tired but proud of our efforts, as I boarded the metro to go home I opened and read AAI President James Zogby's weekly column, in which he urged us to think and act critically in remembrance of Dr. King:


So this year, on Martin Luther King Day, here are some things to do.

First make an effort to learn more about America back in the 1950's – the world which King gave his life fighting to change. It would also be important to try to understand what has changed and what has not – and to assess the danger that we may be back-sliding in areas of racial and economic justice.

Then look at the broader world and American foreign policy and understand how King would have dealt with the many challenges we are facing.

And then finally pick one issue of economic, social, racial, environmental injustice and resolve to spend the year fighting to bring justice where it is lacking.

That, I believe, is the way to honor King.

Each month, AAI’s Generations brings together Arab American professionals in the Washington, D.C. area to celebrate, learn, serve and network with one another. 

Be sure to check our events calendar for announcements about our upcoming events.