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A Recap of MLK Day 2020

Bright and early on the morning on January 20, 2020, over 700 volunteers gathered at Robert Nathaniel Dett Elementary School to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King once said “Make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” and on Monday morning these individuals came together to do just that.

The morning kicked off with an opening program full of energy and inspiration heard in the messages from Alderman of the 27th Ward, Walter Burnett Jr., the Principal of Dett Elementary, Dr. Hampton, Chicago’s Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Governor J.B. Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Cook County’s State Attorney, Kim Foxx, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Executive Vice President and COO of Salesforce North America and Andy Kofoid, and our very own Executive Director, Myetie Hamilton.

“You don’t have to be a doctor to heal a city, and you certainly don’t have to have a title to be a public servant.”
– Senator, Dick Durbin

After Opening Ceremony, service was kicked off and over 700 volunteers consisting of AmeriCorps members, City Year Alumni, Dett Elementary School faculty and staff, employees of presenting sponsor, Salesforce, employees of the Chicago Cubs, and employees of various education non-profits such as College Possible, and SAGA Innovations filed out of the gymnasium and across the school campus to paint walls, doors, murals, and put together cubbies and sensory kits for students. A total of 26 projects to beautify the campus to Dett Elementary and hopefully bring joy to the students who attend school there.

Volunteers painting canvas murals

“We’re all able to come together as a community, not really knowing each other, not really knowing the roles we do day to day, but we’re just individuals that want to serve in this moment.” 

– Amber Floyd, Volunteer

Aside from physical service, volunteers also had the opportunity to participate in small group debriefs to discuss what it means to come into a community for a day to participate in service, and what adversities our communities and students are facing. When asked about her service experience on MLK Day, Dett Elementary School Principal Dr. Heather Hampton said, “I am happy to serve today with City Year hand in hand and to provide my students with a better learning experience.” As the day ended, the positive energy of a powerful service day was felt by all and as we continue to support 31 Chicago Public Schools, City Year Chicago keeps the vision of Dr. King alive by being of service to our students and communities on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and every day after.

Volunteers posing for a picture

To see more photos from MLK Day 2020 visit


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