Athens celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. all throughout the community on Jan 16. The MLK Day Steering Committee hosted a kickoff event at Clarke Central High School to honor Dr. King before setting off onto their service projects. The Committee partnered with a multitude of organizations and hosted 26 volunteer locations like helping the local Diaper Bank, the Athens Area Humane Society Shelter, and a clean-up of the local Brooklyn Cemetery.
“I think that on this particular day, it’s important to keep Dr. King’s memory alive. It’s important to think about the type of service and the type of work he was doing; to bring people together in service of each other, which was what Dr. King was all about,” Co-Chair of the MLK Day Steering Committee Kamau Hull said.
Smaller organizations like the Athens Area Diaper bank are heavily dependent on volunteers to be able to reach all of the people in need in the community.
“I would say volunteers do about 75% of the physical labor like wrapping diapers and packing bags. The only time I really have to do it is if nobody signs up, or if we have a group cancellation,” Kathy Bailey Special Programs Manager said. “My favorite part of working here is the people that we get to support. It’s just amazing to see what having fresh clean diapers can do for a family, it brings so much peace.”
To conclude a day in celebration of Dr. King, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement held its 7th annual MLK day parade. The groups ranged from dance groups to motorcyclists.
“I think that it’s very important that we are able to come out here on this day as a community and set our differences aside. It doesn’t matter what political party you’re a part of. It doesn’t matter what organization you’re a part of if you want to stand for justice and equality. This is a day that we all can come together, represent that, and have fun as a community. I think it’s very important because Martin Luther King Jr. sacrificed his life and we want to make sure that we uplift him and continue to do that kind of work. One of his visions was for black, brown, white, and all different children and people to come together, so that’s what this day is about,” Co-Founder of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement Mokah Jasmine Johnson said.