January Debate Night! The Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational!

Thanks to the support of Kirkland and Ellis LLP, New York City will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by honoring one of the world’s most famous public speakers and social activists by honoring our next generation of leaders and advocates who are carrying his torch by hosting New York City’s First Martin Luther King Jr. Debate Invitational. The tournament will be hosted at Kirkland and Ellis.  Over 50 of the top debaters from across the city have been invited to participate. Debate topics for the day are on civil disobedience and Martin Luther King Jr. Day and National Service Day. Students will have the opportunity to network with lawyers and legal staff, learn about careers in the legal profession, and after the debate, Kirkland and Ellis is hosting a reception and dinner for all debaters.  This event is historical for NYC in that our city has never hosted an annual scholastic event for all schools and students commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  And there is no academic program better suited than debate!  Martin Luther King. Jr. was a member of his college’s debate team and one of the most famous public speakers in history.  Thank you Kirkland and Ellis for making this historical event possible. 

About Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the National Day of Service (excerpted from MLKDay.gov):

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. devoted his life to equality, social justice, economic advancement, and opportunity for all. He challenged us to build a more perfect union and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be. With his leadership, our nation made great strides toward increased civil rights.  More than 40 years after his death, Dr. King’s example can continue to guide us in addressing our most critical issues. Each of us can contribute to strengthening our own communities by serving in Dr. King’s honor not only on the King Holiday, but throughout the year. By making service part of our daily lives, we can help realize Dr. King’s dream. Together, we can create and sustain opportunities for Americans to strengthen their own and other’s economic opportunity, ensure that more young people graduate from high school, support our military families and veterans, and help communities prepare for and recover from disaster.

What Is the MLK Day of Service?

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The federal holiday was first observed in 1986. In 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with leading this effort. Taking place each third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, addresses social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

Why Serve on MLK Day?

Dr. King recognized the power of service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community action that helps meet national challenges on issues such as increasing economic opportunity, education, supporting veterans and military families, and help communities prepare for and recover from disaster.

In addition to helping solve serious problems, service brings together people from different backgrounds and benefits those who serve. On MLK Day, it is especially fitting that Americans come together in service that not only honors Dr. King, but builds lasting change in communities.

What Types of Service Are Encouraged?


All types of service are encouraged, particularly projects that connect participants to ongoing service throughout the year, have a lasting impact and build the capacity of an organization to launch new projects, mobilize volunteers, or generate resources. The most successful projects connect to the life and teachings of Dr. King and include time to reflect on his teachings. For the 2013 MLK Day of Service, CNCS encourages organizations to carry out projects which advance economic opportunities, support veterans and military families, promote education, and help communities prepare for or recover from disasters.