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Missourians Serve to Create Dr. King's Beloved Community

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Volunteers on MLK Day focus on serving one another to help bridge divides and confront social problems, making the holiday "a day on, not a day off." (Adobe Stock)
Volunteers on MLK Day focus on serving one another to help bridge divides and confront social problems, making the holiday "a day on, not a day off." (Adobe Stock)
January 20, 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- From young students to business professionals, today, Missourians from all walks of life will honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by giving back to their communities.

This is the 25th anniversary of MLK Day as a National Day of Service, which encourages Americans to observe the holiday as "a day on, not a day off." Hundreds of service projects are scheduled, and Dr. Alisa Warren, executive director with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, said they hope to emulate Dr. King's legacy of peace, unity and service, to create what he called a 'beloved community.'

"A community of love, where love overshadows hate and where, even though we're all very different, we can learn from each other's difference and grow as a community," Warren said. "And so, his legacy really to all of us is to learn to serve one another."

Other events honoring Dr. King today in Missouri include the Springfield Multicultural Festival and the Annual Freedom March in St. Louis, as well as prayer breakfasts, lectures, documentary viewings and unity walks.

Warren said serving our neighbors is one of the first steps toward bridging divides and confronting social problems. And she's encouraged by the ways volunteers work to carry out Dr. King's dream.

"It seems right now sometimes, folks are feeling as though our society is getting cynical and maybe not as interested in working together for peace; when really, that couldn't be farther from the truth," she said. "People are very, very committed to his legacy."

Local volunteer opportunities can be found on the website MLKday.gov.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - MO