Day of service to honor king’s work

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is more than just a holiday to some Americans. The Corporation for National and Community Service encourages Americans to honor King’s memory by joining in service projects on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Office of Diversity Enhancement and the Black Student Alliance at SDSU have come together to participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

“We will actually be doing our day of service on Tuesday (Jan. 19), which is actually the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” said Cassandra Malinich, AmeriCorps VISTA service-learning consultant with the Office of Diversity Enhancement.

The day of service will begin at 2:30 p.m. in The Union with members of the Black Student Alliance kicking off the day with a step show. Step shows are an African American tradition that uses footsteps, spoken words, and handclaps in a percussive manner as a form of dance.

“We will be doing small step shows throughout the day in The Union,” said Queen Ekobena, president of the BSA and a graduate student. “We will also be giving a presentation on Dr. King’s life and work in The Union.”

Following the activities in The Union, the BSA will be visiting with children and senior citizens at the Great After-school Place, the Boys and Girls Club, the Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program and the United Retirement Center.

“They will be giving a brief workshop on King’s life and then plan on playing games with the children and senior citizens,” said Malinich. “This is a really great way to give back to the community and promote diversity.”

After the students visit with the children and the retirement center they will be going back The Union for a meal and reflection on King. The meal was donated by George’s Pizza.

“I think it’s really important that people realize the Martin Luther King Jr. Day is more than just a day off of school,” said Ekobena. “He was someone who made a real difference in the world.”

“Sedric McClure will be the guest speaker that evening; he is a multicultural counselor from Macalester College (St. Paul, Minn.),” said Joanita Kant, an AmeriCorps VISTA service-learning consultant with the Office of Diversity Enhancement. “The speech he is giving is titled ‘Is His Dream a Dream or a Reality?’ which is in reference to Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”

McClure will speak in Room 269 of The Union at 7 p.m. on Jan. 19.

“We want to welcome the community to get involved with the day of service, we definitely welcome anyone who wants to join,” said Kant. “University or non-university affiliated people.”

The Office of Diversity Enhancement requests the volunteers register to participate by Jan. 15 by calling Cassandra Malinich at 688-6896.

Activist’s life impacted many

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an essential 20th century figure. His speeches awakened concern and ignited the conscience of millions.

His movements and marches helped bring major changes in American life. His devotion gave direction to 13 years of civil rights activities. His leadership inspired substantial amounts of people in America and around the world.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the civil rights movement. He was arrested upwards of 20 times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

At the age of 35, King was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the the civil rights movement.

On the evening of April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tenn., he was assassinated.