City Year commemorates MLK Day across the country
This year would have marked Dr. King’s 95th birthday. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service commemorates his legacy, his work and his life, and his commitment to service and building a Beloved Community, as defined by Dr. King, as a “society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings.”
On Monday, thousands of AmeriCorps members and staff across the country, including from City Year, joined community members, elected officials, and corporate partners and dedicated the day to projects in communities where they serve.
We were inspired to see such a strong turnout, with President Biden, Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker, and AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith and many others, including City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps members, serving at Philabundance, the region’s largest food bank. Together with volunteers they packaged meal kits that will be distributed to families experiencing hunger in the area.
In locations where the crippling cold forced the cancelation of service projects, several have been rescheduled for a later date.
As Dr. King once said, “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve,” a guiding principle that City Year has honored since our founding 35 years ago.
Here are a few highlights from a powerful and impactful day of service:
Volunteers came together to transform Mosaic Preparatory Academy’s learning environment with a beautification project, where volunteers painted a vibrant mural, walls and planters where students will be able to grow flowers. New York State’s Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado gave remarks commemorating Dr. King’s legacy and noting the impact of AmeriCorps’ service.
“It is imperative that we tap into our infinite capacity to love,” Lt. Gov. Delgado said. “It is imperative that we do the heavy lifting of creating the right spaces for communities to come together and uplift each other in the spirit of our shared humanity.”
Mosaic has raised the average daily attendance by 10% for their more than 400 students while working with City Year New York’s AmeriCorps members. The school and City Year are looking forward to a continued partnership that bolsters students’ academic and social-emotional needs.
In Milwaukee, 250 volunteers came together to paint murals in the Lloyd Barbee Montessori School. They were joined by the Supt. of Milwaukee Public Schools, Keith P. Mosley, Mayor Cavalier Johnson and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.
City Year Washington, D.C., organized a school beautification project at Ketcham Elementary in Historic Anacostia that involved painting school spaces, constructing indoor and outdoor furniture, and creating school supply kits for our local partner school, Ketcham Elementary.
City Year thanks the members of the Biden Administration who attended the event, including Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Adrianne Todman, and AmeriCorps Director State and National Sonali Nijhawan.
Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member Nick Melvoin joined over 400 City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps members and volunteers in a beautification project at Fairfax High School.
Check out this video of the school beautification in Los Angeles.
City Year Providence joined AmeriCorps members across Rhode Island to pack 20,000 nutritious meals for local schools and food pantries hosted by ServeRI. Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse were in attendance, along with U.S. Representatives Gabe Amo and Seth Magaziner.
In Seattle/King County, more than 300 volunteers gathered to refresh Denny International Middle School through art projects. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal gave opening remarks at City Year Seattle’s largest MLK day of service to date.
City Year Greater Boston mobilized volunteers for beautification projects for the Holmes Innovation School in Dorchester, which had not been repainted in 10 years. Volunteers also created resource kits to benefit students and teachers in City Year partner schools across Boston.
Appreciation for City Year’s corporate sponsors
City Year’s participation in Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service demonstrated the organization’s unwavering commitment to creating positive change in communities nationwide. We would especially like to thank our corporate partners—whose involvement ranged from financial contributions to encouraging their employees to volunteer alongside City Year AmeriCorps members—for actively participating in City Year’s commitment to service and community development.
Thanks to the continued support of our corps members and staff, alumni, community supporters, elected officials and corporate sponsors, City Year sites across the network were able to come together in honor of Dr. King, whose message of service continues to resonate and inspire community members to work toward a more equitable and just society.
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