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On Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. Day, many people use the holiday to rest and take a break from work. However, there are people who use it as “a day on, not a day off.” This tradition was established in 1994 when Congress designated the holiday as a national service day. The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary for people across the nation to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy by serving the community.
Led by the C.A.L.L Center, this year marks the 12th year CSP has participated in this challenge. On January 20th, 55 volunteers came to join in service. The day started with an opening ceremony with messages from Mumina Mohamud, Student Body President; Sabrina Nur, CSP student; and keynote speaker, Dr. Cheryl Chatman.
Having Dr. Chatman speak was highly meaningful as she helped this annual event take root at CSP and will retire at the end of the academic semester. Dr. Chatman indicated the importance of this event as she says, “Celebrating the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Day is an important time to remember his dream of equal rights, dignity, sister & brotherly love. It’s a time for each of us to be challenged to make a personal commitment to serve humanity with a spirit of unconditional love and service.”
After, the participants were divided up and were sent to five different non-profit organization programs in the Twin Cities: Bridging, People Serving People, the St. Paul Opportunity Center, ARTS-Us, and Lex-Ham. Each organization supports individuals in our community in a variety of different ways. Examples of how these organizations support local Twin Cities families include providing affordable housing, offering relocation resources, and coordinating community development work. From putting together furniture to moving files around in an office, each establishment provided different acts of service for each group to participate in.
Although CSP Student, Kee Thao, had doubts about the challenge at first, he soon realized that it was fun and meaningful. Through this service day, he was able to build new relationships with other CSP students and faculty. To help serve the community Kee says, “I believe that we must take action. We have to ask each other for help and help each other when a person is in need of help.”