“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
—Martin Luther King, Jr., “Conquering Self-Centeredness”, 1957
Each January, we plan events that celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 2014, we took a new approach to celebrating MLK day, hosting four events focusing on service and discussion of Dr. King’s philosophy.
We designed the events to focus on a different piece of his expansive philosophy, including fighting poverty, nonviolent social change, and fighting discrimination. Then, each tenet of his philosophy was tied to the realities of life in our society today. Read more.
2015 MLK Celebration Events
In January, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through several events focusing on raising awareness around early childhood literacy. Access to (or lack of access) to books can help shape the course of a child’s life. Let’s work together to help every child in our community become a better reader!
January 19 – February 2, Multiple collection locations
Did you know that 61% of low-income families have no age appropriate books in their home for their children?
Or that a child from a low-income family enters kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 3,000 words, while a child of a middle-income family enters with a listening vocabulary of 20,000 words?
There is almost a 90% probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of first grade. (Source: Heart of America.)
To raise awareness of these issues, our AmeriCorps Network members will be holding a book drive in conjunction with our MLK Day activities starting January 19th, and running until February 2nd.
The books will benefit the Smart Beginnings Reading Hour, a local early childhood literacy program that aims to encourage a love for reading and learning in young children. Any books that are not pre-school/early elementary age will be donated to other deserving organizations, such as local nursing homes.
Any books will be accepted, used and new. For additional questions, contact Erica Wood at ewood1(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)vt.edu or 540-682-4308.
Collection boxes in Squires Student Center atrium, the VT Engage Office (110 New Hall West), Bookholders, and the Blacksburg public library.
Reading at Belview Elementary! January 26, 11:15 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.
We’ll be heading to our community partner, Belview Elementary to read with elementary school-aged children. The event will be open to all students. Registration is open!
For additional questions, contact staff advisor Beth at bboehme(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)vt.edu or 540-231-9186.
We’re working to coordinate a second service event as part of our MLK Day Celebration, details will be announced soon!
Reclaiming the MLK that I Knew
Thursday, January 29, 6-7 p.m., Squires 345
Join us for a talk by Dr. Wornie Reed, who will discuss how over the years, MLK’s message and ideas have been watered down by society.
Dr. King is often depicted as a peaceful dreamer, when he was quite the opposite. He was a revolutionary who was fighting against the “three evils of racism, poverty, and militarism”.
Dr. Reed is the director of the Sociology department’s Race and Social Policy Center. He participated in the Montgomery bus boycott as a student and was active in the Poor People’s Campaign that MLK was leading when he was assassinated. Dr. Reed was an acquaintance of MLK and heard him speak and preach numerous times.
Martin Luther King Daycare Facelift
This event paired students with organizations serving children in the New River Valley to spruce up daycare centers. By leading a team in helping to revitalize the community or joining a team, our students worked to honor Dr. King’s legacy through service four years in a row.
Student leaders planned these service project with local childcare centers. They were responsible for meeting with their service site to develop a plan for their project according to the service site’s needs.
With a budget of $100 for project materials (i.e. paint, brushes, construction materials, cleaning supplies, etc.), teams and individuals completed some great projects. Check out their work below!