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Corps Recognize MLK Day of Service, 2021
The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday is an official “National Day of Service” to honor the civil rights leader’s life and legacy. Every year, Service and Conservation Corps across the country host volunteer projects, educational activities, and other observances to make MLK Day a “day on; not a day off.” Scroll below to learn how several Corps practiced COVID-19 safety precautions and recognized MLK Day with both virtual and in-person activities. Learn more about the MLK Day of Service at MLKDay.gov.
American YouthWorks – Texas Conservation Corps
Based in Austin, TX
American YouthWorks engaged AmeriCorps members virtually for a reflection on Dr. King’s legacy. Each crew selected content to read, watch, or listen to, then came together to discuss the resource, how it related to Dr. King’s teachings, and how their contributions through AmeriCorps are aligned with Dr. King’s philosophies.
Based in Baltimore, MD
- Conducting a cleanup at Laurel Cemetery, a historic African American burial ground.
- Helping clean up a vacant lot that will be turned into useable green space.
- Serving in the Corps’ YouthBuild Clothing Closet to organize donated clothes for AmeriCorps members.
- Serving at the Corps’ Clifton Mansion headquarters to stain cabinets in the kitchenette and clean up old lighting fixtures to be sold to support the Corps’ mission.
- Serving at the Corps’ Real Food Farm to help build a “hügelkultur” – a mound of plant material and other biodegradable content that can be used as a raised planting bed.
- Serving virtually to make greeting cards for Real Food Farm CSA members and seniors who participated in the Corps’ Affordable Produce Delivery Program.
- Partnering with Sharebaby to sort donations and engage volunteers virtually in making blankets.
- Partnering with the Baltimore Community ToolBank to sort donated tools.
- Partnering with the non-profit Second Chance to help sort donations of construction materials and furniture.
- Partnering with the Maryland Book Bank to sort donations and engage volunteers virtually in making bookmarks.
- Partnering with the Franciscan Center to sort and bag donated clothing.
In addition, Civic Works plans to host a series of conversations to discuss Dr. King’s messages and legacy.
Franklin’s Promise Coalition – Conservation Corps of Forgotten and Emerald Coasts
Based in Apalachicola, FL
Additional photos on Facebook
Franklin’s Promise Coalition organized two different activities involving AmeriCorps members through The Corps Network’s Opportunity Youth Service Initiative. In partnership with the Duke Energy Foundation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection/NOAA’s Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, one crew helped complete a coastal cleanup. This included removing debris – such as old tires, marine debris, and trash – and preparing the site for planting “spartina alterniflora” – an important kind of marsh grass. This work is part of a larger living shoreline project that serves as a site for testing and developing best practices in living shoreline installations.
As part of the Corps’ ongoing COVID-19 response work, a second crew of AmeriCorps members helped the local food bank accept and prepare a load of food for distribution.
Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps
Based in Racine, WI
Great Lakes Community Conservation Corps shifted their MLK Day observances online. Activities included participation in two virtual events. The first was a panel discussion hosted by veterans at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. The focus of the conversation was Dr. King’s statement, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” The second was a virtual celebration, centered on the theme “Response, Resiliency, Restoration,” hosted by GLCCC’s partner Gateway Technical College.
In addition, GLCCC provided Corpsmembers with a reading and questions to help them learn about Dr. King and his legacy.
Green City Force
Based in Brooklyn, NY
Limitless Vistas, Inc.
Based in New Orleans, LA
Limitless Vistas plans to prepare and distribute lunches for people experiencing homelessness in the Lower Garden and CBD neighborhoods of New Orleans. Each bagged lunch will include a note created by an AmeriCorps member or LVI employee. The goal is to help bring a meal and friendly encouragement to those in need in the community. [This activity will take place after the City of New Orleans has lifted current COVID-19 safety restrictions]
San Jose Conservation Corps
Based in San Jose, CA
AmeriCorps members and staff from San Jose Conservation Corps partnered with local non-profit Amigos de Guadalupe to support their Casitas de Esperanzas (Tiny Homes of Hope) initiative. The goal of this initiative is to provide more than 20 Pallet Shelters as transitional housing for families in need. On MLK Day, volunteers gathered to prepare the shelters by sweeping and raking the grounds and helping clean and set up the interiors of the homes.