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‘Holiday of Service’

Events honoring Martin Luther King Jr. legacy urge ‘day on,’ not ‘day off’

(Published January 14, 2002)

Numerous events are planned throughout the District this month to celebrate the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Among this year’s major events, a coalition of nonprofit, government and private sector organizations has organized a week-long series of service opportunities honoring the Rev. King’s legacy, Jan. 15-21.

Led by Greater D.C. Cares, the organizers of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday of Service are urging area residents to make the federal MLK holiday a "day on" instead of a "day off" by participating in volunteer projects. More than 40 community service organizations will be served as part of the week’s events.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams and D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Paul L. Vance plan to help kick off the week of events at 10 a.m. on Jan. 15 (Rev. King’s actual birthday) at Wheatley Elementary School, 1299 Neal St. NE.

Citizens can register to participate in the Holiday of Service events by calling (202) 289-7378, extension 106, or by visiting www.mlkcoalition.org.

Among the planned activities for the Jan. 19-21 weekend:

•More than 50 volunteers are needed to help spruce up the grounds of Woodlawn Cemetery at 4611 Benning Road NE.

•More than 40 youth volunteers are needed to decorate brown bags to brighten the day of people living with HIV/AIDS who receive meals and groceries from Food and Friends.

•More than 100 volunteers are needed to help prepare the hallways of Eastern Senior High School for painting.

•More than 125 volunteers are needed to paint the infirmary at the Community for Creative Non-Violence homeless shelter and to also paint murals.

•More than 100 volunteers are needed to help with gardening activities such as starting seeds for spring crops, supervising children in gardening and craft projects and creating container gardens.

•More than 200 volunteers are needed to help paint Langston Dwellings, rejuvenate the public housing project’s common areas, trim bushes and restore statues.

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The National Park Service will present its annual Civil Rights Film Festival at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Jan. 14-21. The films will be shown from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day.

On Jan. 14, the festival will feature "Biography: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." The festival also will feature other civil rights activists.

"Eyes on the Prize," a documentary chronicling the civil rights movement in the United States, will be shown daily throughout the festival. Groups of five or more should call (202) 426-5961 to make reservations to view this documentary because seating is limited. Film titles and times are available by calling the same telephone number.

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Washington National Cathedral and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America are co-sponsoring a two-day conference in observance of Rev. King’s birthday. The conference, to be held Jan. 18-19, at the cathedral is entitled "Living Faithfully in a Violent World: Congregations and Community Working Together to End Violence."

The keynote address for the conference, at 7 p.m. Jan. 18, will be delivered by author and lecturer Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund. The Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Mass Choir will perform. The lecture and musical performance are free.

Saturday’s anti-violence workshop includes three tracks for adults as well as a youth forum to deal with global, community and juvenile justice issues. The workshop is designed to educate church leaders and inspire congregational action to reduce and prevent violence. Cost to participate in the workshop is $150. More information is available by calling (202) 537-2211 or by visiting www.cathedral.org.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator