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Volunteer State Honors Dr. King with Day of Service

Many Tennesseans are answering Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to give back to others. (Working Kind/morguefile.com)
Many Tennesseans are answering Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to give back to others. (Working Kind/morguefile.com)
January 16, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- People around Tennessee will honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by making today's federal holiday a day to give back.

Since 1994, Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been a National Day of Service. Schools, businesses and community organizations have planned service projects across the state. Samantha Jo Warfield with the Corporation for National and Community Service says rolling up sleeves and digging in to help is one way for people to feel engaged.

"Service is a powerful way for citizens to empower themselves,”Warfield said. “And it's through that work that a conversation can start that reminds us that the work of perfecting our union requires sustained citizen action."

The University of Tennessee is hosting a leadership conference where 400 students will work on projects in the Knoxville community. In Nashville, the Human Rights Campaign is leading volunteers to work with the HIV and AIDS community.

More information about volunteer opportunities is available online at nationalservice.gov.

Warfield said service can spark citizen action, bridge divides and move the nation closer to King's vision of a community working together to solve social problems.

"When we stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans, we gain perspective on the lives we share with others as we use our time and our talents to build a stronger nation,” she said. "And that's good for ourselves as well."

Warfield said those who are unable to attend a volunteer event today can always find other ways to give back.

"Perhaps you donate money, perhaps you engage in a conversation with a young person. Perhaps you pledge to volunteer once a month for the rest of the year, or you decide to become a mentor at your local school,” she said. “There are many, many ways to get involved."

Schools, churches, museums and other community organizations are hosting Martin Luther King Jr. Day events around Tennessee that include forums, art displays and memorial services promoting social justice and peace.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN