“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words echo in community collaborations around Indianapolis, and beat in the hearts of those who serve purposes greater than themselves within our city. This MLK Day, we were honored to join our longtime Shalom Zone* partners for a special service in tribute to the late civil rights leader.

Dr. King’s spirit and sentiment were present at the ceremony, as we listened to testimony of the light he offered a nation divided, and the lessons he offered that remain relevant today from local faith leaders. Following the service, we were presented with a truly humbling accolade – the Shalom Zone’s first annual MLK Drum Major for Justice Award. 

This award was created to honor Dr. King’s dream by recognizing and thanking individuals and organizations committed to outstanding service in the community. Its namesake is in reference to a powerful speech the pastor made four months before his assassination.

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness… We all have the drum major instinct.

Dr. King was drawing on the analogy of the Drum Major as the leader, the one who sets the pace for others to follow. In the years since his death, organizations around the world have created their own MLK Drum Major Awards for individuals and organizations that best exemplify Dr. King’s vision of those who take up the mantle of leadership in the cause of social justice. At School on Wheels, we are incredibly proud to help set the pace for breaking the cycle of homelessness with education in Indianapolis; we know that there is a long march toward change, but we can do it with our incredible community partners and advocates like Shalom Zone.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

*The Shalom Zone is a group of Indy-area churches focused on supporting and creating large outreach activities. Thank you to collaborating churches Cross & Crown, Allisonville Christian Church, Epworth United Methodist Church, First Friends Quaker Meeting and St. Pius X Catholic Church!

Are you looking for ways for your company to partner with School on Wheels and make a difference? Check out all the ways to get involved on our site, or contact Fatima Johnson, our Volunteer and Community Engagement Manager.