When many had a day off from work for the 2010 celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the NEWESD101 had a day on and this year, as in past years, expressed their commitment to Rev. Dr. King’s legacy and dream through community service. Now becoming a tradition on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Spokane Service Team and its AmeriCorps members volunteered to help setup and take down the annual Community Resource Fair held by United Way and hosted the Washington Reading Corps’ (WRC) Children’s Resource Learning Fair. The members also attended the speeches at the INB Performing Arts Center and participated in Spokane’s downtown march.
The City of Spokane holds an annual march to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Of the many AmeriCorps members and members that assisted in hauling tables and setting up chairs for both resource fairs, most still had more than enough energy to rally at Spokane’s INB Performing Arts Center to listen to community leaders speak about their dedication to equality and justice. In attendance was the acclaimed Rev. Percy “Happy” Watkins who, for his 23rd straight year in a row, gave a spirited rendition of Rev. Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech. The speech’s end was the start to Spokane’s largest ever Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march that began at the INB Performing Arts Center and ended at Spokane’s downtown Riverpark Square Mall.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
The mixture of good weather, powerful speakers, and a sea of marchers gave AmeriCorps members a feeling of being a part of something greater than themselves. The morning events gave each a vision of what cooperation could be like, what solidarity really looks like, and that commonality can transcend individual differences when there is a goal that reaches out to everyone, of every background, and of every faith. Even after the energy of the morning settled all the members continued to volunteer into the early evening.
Written and performed by our own Nick Straight
Washington Reading Corps VISTA Leader
WRC hosted its 2nd annual Children’s Learning Resource Fair on the 2nd floor of Spokane’s bus plaza. The resource fair was run and supported by individuals from AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Vista, Spokane Service Team, WRC, Spokane School District #81, and SNAP. AmeriCorps provided a satellite infant clothing bank open to the public, a tile painting workshop sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, and ran a game and information booth for children and
parents. Making the fair that much more exceptional, Nick Straight (Vista Leader) and Kevin Schibel held a free concert. The live music created a backdrop to a truly successful fair. The Children’s Learning Resource Fair doubled its turn out from last year and distributed nearly 400 books that day.
“The AmeriCorps members that joined together on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, all were grateful to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through their service efforts, presence and support at the Community Resource Fair, INB Performing Arts Center, and Children’s Learning Resource Fair. As members of AmeriCorps team our service and goals change regularly, and it is easy to forget the larger struggle we are a part of, the dreams we strive to bring to reality, the ideas we want to foster and often do not know how or where to start. If anything, Martin Luther King Jr. Day gives us an opportunity to try, as co-creators, to better our world.” – Daniel Ramos III, AmeriCorps Member