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In Nov. 2021 after ten years of our evolving mission and impact, we changed our name to Gathering Ground. You may still find reference to our old name Creative New Jersey in posts created prior to Nov. 2021.

Ways to live into the “Drum Major Instinct” on MLK Day

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 95th birthday, we are calling on New Jersey residents to take part in living out Dr. King’s ideals of community service and leading in love for others. We believe that by coming together and serving our communities, we can build a stronger and more connected New Jersey. There are many opportunities to get involved, from organizing food drives to cleaning up local parks. Whatever your passion, there is a way to make a difference. Let’s honor Dr. King’s legacy by building a brighter, just, and equitable future for all.

The quote in the graphic above comes from Dr. King’s sermon “The Drum Major’s Instinct” at Ebeneezer Baptist Church, on April 4, 1968, just two months before his assassination. What is perhaps most chillingly remarkable in this sermon is Dr. King’s imagining of his own death and funeral, and what he wished to be known for. His call for everyone to serve is much more than a call to charitable acts – to lead like a drum major, perhaps serving an inflated sense of self. Dr. King’s call is to lead and be recognized not for one’s own ego, but in service to justice and peace (listen to excerpted audio of Dr. King’s sermon below). 

Audio & footage credit: "The Drum Major's Instinct" sermon. The King Center, Atlanta Georgia.

Volunteer opportunities throughout New Jersey in honor of Dr. King:


“The convening in Orange of 80+ people last March under the banner of the Orange Call to Collaboration allowed us the opportunity to expand our arts-as-the-engine-of-urban-revitalization movement from 15 blocks to the whole city of 33,000 people. The Orange Call to Collaboration is becoming an umbrella for public and private initiatives to innovatively confront our urban challenges and to celebrate our culture and diversity.”

– Patrick Morrissy, Former Executive Director, HANDS, Inc. (Orange)