UM-Dearborn prepares for 20th anniversary of MLK Day of Service

Students paint a classroom at Ann Visger Elementary School in River Rouge during Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2012

Students paint a classroom at Ann Visger Elementary School in River Rouge during Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service 2012.

On the eve of University of Michigan-Dearborn’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, a winter storm hit southeast Michigan. Twelve-inch snowdrifts covered the region.

“We thought it might kill the effort,” said Helen Santiz, a founding MLK Day committee member.

But to their surprise, people showed up.

Twenty years later, they’re still showing up for the annual service event.

On Monday, January 21, members of the UM-Dearborn community will participate in the 20th anniversary of the MLK Day of Service, commemorating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year, roughly 400 volunteers from UM-Dearborn and Henry Ford Community College will join forces to serve more than a dozen community organizations throughout Metro Detroit.

The list of projects is as wide and diverse as the members of the UM-Dearborn community. Participants will refurbish old homes with Detroit Rescue Mission, make arts and crafts at the Redford Geriatric Village, clean the facility at the Franklin Wright Settlements. They’ll assemble book covers with Beyond Basics and make fleece blankets and toys for the Dearborn Animal Shelter.

“I love seeing the interest that has developed in young people today to actually go out and do something to help,” Santiz said.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni can register to volunteer online.

The Day of Service will kick off a week of programs and events dedicated toward nonviolent social improvement and the development of positive communities:

Monday, January 21

  • 8 a.m. – MLK Day of Service, begins in Kochoff Halls, University Center
  • 9 a.m. – Food Pantry Ribbon Cutting, the CIViC

Tuesday, January 22

  • Noon – Noon Day Observance, Kochoff Hall C
  • 6 p.m. – The Power of the Pen discussion with Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley, Kochoff Hall C
    An overview of historical and contemporary African American writers and writings; includes UM-Dearborn alumni Leah Johnson, Veronica Granderson and Brittney Moore, creators of Color Blind Magazine

Wednesday, January 23

  • 9 a.m.-8 p.m. – We Don’t Want Them traveling exhibit, Kochoff B and C
    The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion’s traveling exhibit on the history of racial segregation in housing practices in Detroit

Thursday, January 24

  • 6:30 p.m. – Faisal Alam presents Hidden Voices: The Lives of LGBT Muslims, Kochoff Halls

For more information, visit the MLK Day of Service webpage.

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