Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. was an African-American activist that fought for racial equality in the United States.
In 1983, fifteen years after his death, legislation declared his birthday a national holiday. In 1994, Congress designated this day as a national day of service, observing it as a “day on, not a day off.” The MLK Day of Service website states the mission of this day as the intent to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”
Eleven years ago, Kelly Matthias, who works in Concordia University, St. Paul’s C.A.L.L Center, initiated CSP’s involvement in the MLK Day of Service. CSP has participated annually since.
Matthias stated that CSP has long-standing relationships with Higher Ground of St. Paul, which makes it possible for the C.A.L.L. Center to send students to homeless shelters, senior citizen facilities, and other non-profit organizations. In past years, students have even helped move furniture for families that are transitioning into living on their own.
But there are questions that still linger: why does this day matter? Why is it so important?
Matthias stated that it’s a unique way to bring the community together as well as strengthening it. It’s a peaceful demonstration for change and overall honors Martin Luther King Jr. and what he stood for.
Not everyone in the CSP community participates, and in response to that, Kate Larson, who also works in the C.A.L.L Center and actively participates in this service day, said a few words.
“You have a day off from school and part of MLK’s legacy was to serve his community. Why not take four hours out of your day and serve?” Larson asked.
The goal of MLK’s Day of Service is to encourage the CSP community to get involved and serve in their community and that meaning still shines through the day off and the work volunteers put in.
If you’d like to get involved for Monday’s MLK Day of Service, please contact the C.A.L.L. Center by emailing [email protected].