The start of a new year brings a wealth of new opportunities. Opportunities to set personal and professional goals, discover things about yourself and explore the world around you. With Martin Luther King Jr. Day taking place this coming Monday, Jan. 16, now is the perfect time for internal reflection and committing to make a difference in this world through our words and actions.
We live in a time often characterized by division, causing many of us to pull away from one another. MLK Day reminds us of the power of unity and working toward common goals so that we can keep our communities strong and be positive role models for the next generation. By examining Dr. King’s core tenets and teachings, we are able to be the change we want to see in the world. Through faith, love, education, nonviolence, hope, leadership and community, we unlock our full potential — not just as individuals, but as an entire city working toward the betterment of all.
With this in mind, I want to invite you and your family to participate in the city of Santa Clarita’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity Walk, which will be held on Monday, Jan. 16, at 9 a.m. at Central Park (27150 Bouquet Canyon Road). This event, which was launched in 2022, brings residents together to hear from guest speakers and celebrate the life and work of Dr. King. We commemorate Dr. King’s core values and walk alongside one another through Central Park, which offers time to get to know each other and continue the dialogue of a united community.
The MLK Day Unity Walk is free and open to the public and no advance registration is required. I look forward to seeing you and your family Monday morning for this wonderful and important event.
Following the Unity Walk, I encourage you to take part in an opportunity to give back to our community through volunteerism and service. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only federal holiday that is also designated as a National Day of Service and its mission is to foster cooperation between all people through community service.
As Dr. King himself once said, “Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service.”
On Monday — and the days that follow — I want to challenge us all to take these words to heart and take an active role in our community. This can take many forms, the most direct of which involves volunteering with a local nonprofit organization to help your neighbors in need.
However, there are multiple ways to serve in Santa Clarita. Some ideas to get started include walking around your neighborhood or organizing a group to pick up trash. You can reach out to a nonprofit that assists the homeless, veterans or single-parent households and donate much-needed supplies. You can register to be a Big Brother or Big Sister and make a lasting positive impact on the life of a child.
This week, let’s take time to learn more about Dr. King and his teachings, not only by viewing his speeches but also by understanding their context and the world in which they were delivered. We can draw parallels to our society today and see how our role as an individual and as a community member is integral to keeping Santa Clarita the wonderful city we all enjoy.
So, while we work through our New Year’s resolutions and set the usual goals to eat healthier, exercise more and take a vacation, let’s add one that will challenge us to be the best version of ourselves on a daily basis — put others first. I hope to see you at the MLK Day Unity Walk on Monday and look forward to hearing how you and your family will follow in Dr. King’s footsteps.
Mayor Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].