Black Voices: A Reflection of Service on MLK Day
In 2015, we started asking our Black Voices bloggers to reflect on what service means to them as we stopped to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of our bloggers, Guy Anthony, chose to reflect on Dr. King’s quote, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?” Here’s what Guy shared with us:
CEO/President, Black, Gifted, and Whole
@iamguyanthony Exit Disclaimer“Every morning, before I tackle the day, I ask myself how I can be of service to someone else. It can be something as small as listening to a loved one vent or as large as purchasing a home for your beloved mother. What I’ve learned through Martin’s civil rights advocacy work in the 60’s is that it doesn’t matter how big or small the deed; what matters most is that you were selfless in helping someone else.”
This year we asked all of our bloggers to reflect on that quote. Here’s what they had to say:
Service, to me, means going above and beyond for a purpose that is greater than one’s own self. It’s working to make a change for the greater good of those around you. Service is more than a job or hobby—it’s a lifestyle. It’s something you have to be passionate about.
Service means making a commitment to be selfless; putting a community's needs before your own reflects the strength and purview of one’s integrity. Agreeing to be selfless is only the beginning. To best serve communities, we have to recognize that a one-size-fit-all ideology is ineffective. We all represent a certain uniqueness; a uniqueness that requires both equal and equitable treatment by medical providers, community-based organizations, and elected officials. We must not stand idly by when our brothers and sisters don’t receive adequate service. We must advocate.
Vlogger, activist, speaker@kenlikebarbie Exit DisclaimerService, to me, is, in many ways, an extension of self-care. It’s about knowing how to be a resource for yourself in order to be effective and empathetic to the varied needs of others—without jeopardizing your well-being and mental health.
Service is an opportunity to share a mutually beneficial gift with people who need it most. To live a full, healthy life, people living with HIV require gifts of full health access, barrier removal, and increased medical coverage. This benefits both HIV-negative and HIV-positive persons. If we focus on meeting the needs of the most marginalized populations, we create a system that works for everyone. A global commitment to service is the only way we can end the HIV epidemic.
Blogger, PositiveLifeofPatrick.com and flight attendant@pluslifeofpat Exit DisclaimerI continue to serve my community by educating folks who reach out to me via social media. Serving folks range from providing education on HIV to helping people get connected to testing or care. I take the time to go with people who are getting tested, receiving a diagnosis, and even meeting a provider for the first time, thus connecting them to necessary care.
The care I've received recently that has helped me is care and treatment for my HIV and mental health. Being able to continue to address my HIV, the trauma that has resulted, and chronic anxiety that plagues me has definitely been lifesaving.
We can best serve the HIV community by working to help build the capacity of advocates in communities most impacted by the epidemic – young Black and Latino gay men, Black transgender women, and other communities of color – in order to improve their ability to take action in their communities. This includes ensuring that the most impacted communities are reflected in the response to HIV at all level of engagement, including local, state, and federal.