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“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” 

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

On Monday, January 21st, 2019, more than 500 volunteers joined City Year Milwaukee for a day of service at Longfellow Public School and Hopkins Lloyd Community School to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We had the honor of a number of special guests at the event including Governor Tony Evers, Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, Attorney General Josh Kaul and State Senator Chris Larson. The projects for this day included school beautification projects, mural painting, planting (indoor plants) and much more. The service day was sponsored by Waterstone Bank. 

This day is considered a day “on” not a day off. For me, this means we should honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by setting aside our differences and selfish thoughts, and coming together as a community and nation to achieve one goal: to make a difference.   

Uniqua Adams, a team Leader on the Brewer’s Community Foundation Team serving at Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts, and  a strong black woman, told me why she serves and what it means to her to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She said “service means the ability to give to others who have been let down by systematic barriers that won't allow them to receive the support they need. Dr. King made this a part of his legacy - to assist those who were being treated unfairly. That's why we honor him because if it were not for him, change would only be a dream and not something that we can experience. He marched for us so I serve for them.” 

Another AmeriCorps member, La’Daja Miller, shared her thoughts on this day. “Service means making and giving the time to those who need it the most. The people who are usually overlooked or judged based on other things except for the things that truly matter,” said La’Daja. “Celebrating MLK Day is important because it brings unity in our communities. People are able to honor him together despite race or nationality.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who had a vision when he shared his dream.  Before he spoke and shook the world with his famous “I have a dream” speech, he already knew what it meant- to achieve equality, and the risk it would take to achieve that goal.  

This service day was an opportunity for many in the Milwaukee community to make a difference and serve.  As we live out the vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I hope that we can continue to have a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.

Written by Joshua Moore, City Year Milwaukee Team Leader at Rufus King International Middle School 

To see more pictures from our Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, visit our photography website, here. 

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