Some of the events marking the 29th celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration are pure celebration marked by parades and performances. Most pick up the suggestion made by King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, that the day be devoted to service—that Americans find a way on the mid-January holiday to serve less fortunate Americans. “This is not a Black holiday; it is a people’s holiday,” Coretta King emphasized after President Ronald Reagan signed the King Holiday Bill into law on Nov. 2, 1983.
Following are some opportunities to commemorate the holiday in DeKalb County:
NAACP celebration in Stone Mountain
Five DeKalb County School System high school marching bands will participate in the DeKalb NAACP’s 10th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and Peace Rally on Monday, Jan. 16, at 12:30 p.m. DeKalb County School Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Atkinson and Congressman Hank Johnson will serve as the grand marshals.
The parade will begin in the MARTA parking lot on Fourth Street in downtown Stone Mountain. Scheduled to participate are bands from Cedar Grove High School, Clarkston High School, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, McNair High School and Stone Mountain High School. A Peace Rally will be held immediately following the parade at the Champion Theme Middle School gymnasium at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Decatur’s MLK service project weekend
Sponsored by the Decatur Preservation Alliance (DPA) in partnership with the city of Decatur, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project provides home maintenance and repair free of charge, to Decatur senior citizen homeowners. Now in its 10th year, the project is scheduled for Jan. 14, 15, and 16.
To be eligible for the service, homeowners must reside in their homes within the city limits of Decatur, be at least 65 years old and meet certain income criteria. Twelve homes have been selected for major repairs, and eight will receive minor repairs and maintenance. Project volunteers will do yard clean-up and maintenance on an estimated 50 additional properties.
As in past years, the project has sought and received funding through grants and from corporate sponsors, community organizations, other nonprofit organizations, churches and other places of worship and individual contributions.
The project is Decatur’s biggest volunteer event. Volunteers may sign up in advance through Lee Ann Harvey, city of Decatur (firstname.lastname@example.org); through organizations or individually; or meet at the Solarium (the Community Center of South Decatur), 321 W. Hill St., Decatur, 30 minutes prior to a shift to be assigned to a home.
Shifts are 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. and 1 - 5 p.m. on Saturday and Monday, and 1 - 5 p.m. on Sunday. At the end of the second Monday shift, a dinner event to celebrate the project’s completion takes place at the Solarium for all volunteers and seniors. The dinner is sponsored by the Community Center of South Decatur. For more information, visit http://www.mlkserviceproject.com.
Clarkston refugee assistance project
Officials of the Lutheran Community of Metro Atlanta and the Clarkston Community Center announced that the two organizations are co-sponsoring various service projects to help ease local refugees’ transitions into the United States and improve the Clarkston community, where much of the area’s refugee population resides. Hundreds of community members are expected to gather on Jan. 16, to honor the legacy of leadership left by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through service, cooperation and celebration.
Projects in which volunteers can participate include packaging hygiene kits and family-sized bags of rice for newly arrived refugees, collecting pots and pans for refugee families’ apartments and an outdoor clean-up of the Clarkston community. The MLK Day of Service will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clarkston Community Center, 3701 College Ave., Clarkston. After the service projects are completed, a community celebration will take place at 1 p.m. To register, visit http://mlklutherandayofservice-esearch.eventbrite.com/?srnk=2.
Emory University’s week of volunteerism, reflection, celebration
Emory University’s King Week, the annual campus celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and work, is set for Jan. 15-24. The schedule includes panel discussions, readings, exhibits, worship and opportunities for service. For a full list of calendar events, visit http://www.emory.edu/MLK/.
Highlights of Emory’s King Week include:
Community Learning Garden in east Atlanta
Truly Living Well will sponsor volunteer projects at Edgewood Community Learning Garden on Monday, Jan. 16, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Edgewood Community Learning Garden is located at Hardee and Mayson streets, behind Sammye Coan Middle School, 1450 Hardee St., Atlanta. For more information or to register to volunteer, visit www.trulylivingwell.com.
GPC celebrates with day of service
Georgia Perimeter College presents “Beyond the Dream 2011 - Become Great: Serve” in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Day of Service will be held on Jan. 16, and will consist of hundreds of volunteers at dozens of locations throughout metro Atlanta.
The Day of Service will begin with kickoff rallies at 7:30 a.m. on the Clarkston, Dunwoody and Newton campuses. Free breakfast and T-shirts will be available at the kick-off rallies. Transportation will be available from the campuses to service project areas.
Service projects include the Clarkston Community Center, Hands On Newton, Panola State Park and City of Dunwoody Public Works Department among others.
“The best way to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is through service to our communities,” said Sean Brumfield, executive director of the Atlanta Center for Civic Engagement and Service Learning at GPC. “Many Georgia Perimeter faculty, staff and students are proud to make Jan. 16, 2012 a day on rather than a day off.”
Participants are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the kick-off rallies to support local food pantries. The deadline to register for a service project is Jan. 12. For more information on the Day of Service or to register, visit www.gpc.edu/mlk/2012mlkdayofservice.htm.