Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Remembering Dr. King through Service

By Ranada Robinson, Senior Project Associate. 

Yesterday, I celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through a day of service along with thousands of others across the country. In Atlanta alone, over 2,500 volunteers signed up to work on projects coordinated by Hands on Atlanta, resulting in probably 10,000 hours of service in one day. How amazing collective action can be!

My sorority chapter collaborated with four projects yesterday—two were in conjunction with Hands on Atlanta. Some of our chapter members worked alongside middle school students in our mentoring program at the Wheat Street Garden Urban Forest. The one I worked with from 9 am to 1:30 pm was at Zion Hill Community Development Corporation in East Point, GA. Together, we painted, tiled a formerly carpeted floor, and reorganized the clothes they sell in their “Z Boutique.” Zion Hill CDC has several worthwhile programs, including a housing program for chronically homeless women aged 55 and over, a rental and utility assistance program, and a secondhand clothing shop where women in need can receive clothing at no cost and where community members can come in and purchase clothes as a means of supporting the organization (and finding great deals on gently used clothing). Still other members of my chapter assisted with an NAACP-sponsored parade and program and with beautification efforts at an elementary school in College Park, GA.

Nonprofit organizations are definitely important pieces to the community development puzzles, and it was my honor to spend my day helping one that does so much right in my own backyard. Communities are greater when people get together and help those in need. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best:

All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

-December 18, 1963 at Western Michigan University on “Social Justice”