MLK Day celebrated with community service

Service never takes a holiday. Jan. 19 marks a day of celebration and community relief in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. The Corporation for the National and Community Service and The King Center partnered together to promote the biggest civic engagement to date.

The CNCS considers itself to be “the nation’s largest grant maker for service and volunteering,” and is committed to promoting civic engagement across the nation.

According to the CNCS, in 1994, Congress designated MLK day to be the “first and only federal holiday observed as a national day of service.”

Steve Klein, the communications director for The King Center, said the nationally recognized holiday is like no other.

“An estimated two million people participate in service on this day, as projected by the CNCS,” Klein said. “Many holidays become a day for barbeques, partying, relaxing with the family – but this holiday challenges others to serve their communities. They honor Martin Luther King, Jr. by helping people in their communities.”

According to the CNCS, community service projects were hosted all over the nation in places such as Atlanta, Ga.; Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Washington, D.C.; New York, N.Y., and many others.

Will Guzmán,  assistant professor of History and director of Community and Donor Engagement at the The Carrie Meek-James Eaton Black Archives and Museum, said more can and should be done to promote constant civic engagement

“We could have employers particularly create incentives to encourage their employees to do more community service,” Guzmán said. “Specifically as it relates to community uplift.”

Guzmán added that teachers in the middle, high and college level should encourage community activism as well.

Various clubs, organizations and other citizens collected food and clothing, rebuilt or refurbished community centers and housing

Erin Ravnel, a fourth-year healthcare management student from Tampa, Fla., always believes community service can promote a larger cause.

“I think it is a great representation of how far our country has come in the civil rights movement in light of recent events with Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown and other unfortunate young men that have lost their lives,” Ravnel said. “So I hope we keep it going and continuing serving the dream.”