Today we honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a federal day of remembrance and celebration of his birthday.
Kids in school will learn about the famous “I Have a Dream” speech King gave on the steps of Lincoln Memorial. Churches will come together in prayer and peace. And groups around the country will host MLK Day of Service events to honor the work of the fallen civil rights leader assassinated in 1968.
It comes as no surprise that the largest MLK events will take place in the “City of Brotherly Love.” In fact, the “Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service [is] the largest King Day event in the nation,” according to mlkdayofservice.org.
It may surprise you, however, that one of the two people responsible for the establishment of MLK Day of Service is an LGBT man from the Philadelphia suburbs.
On August 23, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the King Holiday and Service Act written by Congressman John Lewis and our very own US Senator Harris Wofford from Wayne, PA.
According to Wikipedia, the King Holiday and Service Act, often referred to as MLK Day of Service, “challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of King.”
If the name Wofford sounds familiar, perhaps you read his article in the New York Times last April, in which he shared his coming-out story with the nation.
The Times article disclosed intimate details about his wife’s battle with acute leukemia and eventual passing in 1996, and Wofford’s 15-year relationship with his now-husband, Matthew Charlton, 50 years his junior.
Not only was Wofford a US Senator from Pennsylvania, but he was also Special Assistant for Civil Rights to President John F. Kennedy and Adviser to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
To learn more about Harris Wolford, click here.
To learn more about MLK Day of Service and how you can get involved, click here.