Members of the AU community will travel into D.C. to help others in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.‘s memory on Monday. This is part of a national event called “Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.”
AU’s Community Service Center, Interfaith Council and the Black Student Alliance will organize students to help senior citizens in the Shaw-Howard University area.
Howard University and Greater D.C. Cares will also participate in the event. Twenty-five AU students signed up for the event as of press time, and there will be between 60 and 100 volunteers total.
The students will work with the Emmaus Services for the Aging to help senior citizens with chores from 8:20 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ebony Duncan, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, is a member of the Black Student Alliance and one of the three students who helped plan the event.
“Martin Luther King encouraged people to be involved in their communities, and in honoring him I think it’s important to continue his legacy and help those who are in need and are overlooked,” she said.
Peggy Parker, the project leader for Emmaus, said the jobs will range from clearing clutter to painting. One senior citizen has requested help cleaning out her closet. The project aims to clean at least 30 houses. Two volunteers will be assigned to each house.
In exchange, a group of eight senior citizens have offered to cook lunch for the volunteers, and five will talk to the college volunteers about their experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. Parker said the senior citizens will talk about where they were when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and during the Million Man March.
“One senior said he will share that he personally met King, shook his hand and even has slides,” Parker said.
Duncan said it’s important for AU students to leave Northwest D.C. to get a balanced view of the city.
“There is not a lot of diversity, especially economically, in Northwest,” she said. “I think it’s important for students to leave Northwest to get a view of D.C. beyond the monuments and beyond where the government officials are.”
Marcy Fink Campos, director of the Community Service Center, said this is the second year it has had a Day of Service event. Last year, students helped clean a cemetery in Anacostia. Campos said volunteers are being urged to bring a cleaning supply to the event, to give to the seniors or Emmaus.