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Local events to commemorate Monday’s MLK Day of Service

1/15/2014, 4:03 p.m.

This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day marks the 60th anniversary of the end of segregation.

Held on Monday, Jan. 20, the federal holiday will continue its National Day of Service designation. A time when Americans are urged to re-commit themselves to serving each other and their communities.

The Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps solve problems.

The Corporation for National Community Service notes that MLK Day programs meet tangible needs, but also build a sense of community and mutual responsibility by spurring conversation.

“On this day, Americans of every age and background celebrate Dr. King through volunteering and unite to strengthen communities, empower individuals, and bridge barriers,” notes the group that runs the MLKday.gov website. “It’s a day on, not a day off.

“Dr. King believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all, and encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of nonviolence to make this country a better place to live—creating the ‘Beloved Community.’”

In the Richmond area, service opportunities have been created in partnership with several organizations and groups, inluding Hands On Greater Richmond and University of Richmond. Visit.handsonrva.org/mlkday for service and volunteer opportunities.

The University of Richmond is celebrating MLK Day in a big way this year. For the first time in the university’s history, it recognizes Martin Luther King Day by cancelling all classes and observing the holiday for employees.

“This observation brings with it a wealth of opportunities to re-imagine our campus commemoration and to more intentionally honor Dr. King’s legacy through service and education,” according to a published statement. “A committee of faculty, staff, and students have planned a new, two-day approach to engaging with and reflecting on what King’s dream means today.”

The university will also have its annual MLK Day commemoration featuring student performances and a keynote speaker. Dr. Julian Hayter, a historian whose research focuses on African American politics in Richmond, will keynote the event.