On January 15th, 1929 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born. He spent his childhood growing up in the strictly segregated southern state of Georgia, where early on he began to question the status quo. What defines Dr. King as the leader and champion that we remember, was his dedication to serve, advocate and sacrifice in pursuit of justice and equality for all.
King also inspired others to join his movement, organizing boycotts, sit-ins, and marches, among other events, that led to change and created, ultimately, new opportunities for minorities. However, without action, Dr. Martin Luther King's words and beliefs would not have availed much. Dr. King's work went far beyond lip service, and his words continue to remind us that we all are capable of serving and contributing to a greater existence.
"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is up to all of us to carry on the legacy of service, equality and social good. What better time to dive in? Here are 5 great opportunities to get involved in the San Francisco Bay area on Martin Luther King Day:
- Register for the Golden Gate National Parks Conversancy MLK Day of Service 2017 to volunteer for one of several conservation projects planned to restore and revitalize San Francisco area parklands. There are opportunities available for all ages so the whole family can get in on giving back.
- Walk to Remember: MLK March / Parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. at San Fransisco's Caltrain Station and end at Yerb Buena Gardens. The 1.5-mile walk commemorates Dr. King's journey from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama and celebrates the Voter Rights Act of 1965 and the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, a symbol of violence and victory in the civil rights movement. Groups can register and march together.The march will conclude with an interfaith spiritual reflection led by city leaders and the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
- Volunteer with Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation at one of the various events planned for San Francisco's Bay Area and surrounding areas. The organization lists over 500 opportunities to serve in celebrating King's life and work for justice and equality. Register now to be a part of NORCALMLK 2017.
- A chartered Caltrain will commemorate the 1965 voting rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama and the Freedom Riders, and is scheduled prior to the MLK march / parade. The ride symbolizes the last Freedom Train, leaving San Jose Diridon Station no later than 9:30 a.m., with stops at the Sunnyvale station at 9:45 a.m., the Palo Alto station at 9:59 a.m. and San Mateo station at 10:22 a.m., and arriving in San Francisco around 10:55 a.m. Purchase tickets online or call (408) 861-5323 for more information regarding the event.
- Keep History Alive: Learn the Bay Area's history of civil rights told through panel discussion by San Francisco's African American park rangers, who will share stories of heroes and activists that played key roles during this monumental era. Through Our Eyes: Stories from the Long Road to Civil Rights in the Bay Area will be held on the Ferryboat Eureka from 12:30-3:00 p.m. Admission is free on the historical boat, but registration and early arrival is advised. Learn about the slaves who gained freedom by boarding merchant vessels, inmates who fought for rights at Alcatraz, dockworkers who refused to work in the unsafe conditions that killed over 300 people, and more.
It is up to us to work for social good, on MLK Day, and throughout the year. Let Martin Luther King Day be a reminder of those who have served before us, and given us the inspiration to continue to fight for justice and equality.
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