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Prayers, service celebrate King's legacy

Posted January 19, 2015

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— The national holiday honoring the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has become a day for volunteer service across the country.

More than 2,200 people volunteered at events across the Triangle on Monday that were coordinated by the United Way of the Triangle.

At Saint Mary's School in Raleigh, a crowd of students, staff and volunteers spent about two hours assembling about 15,000 soup kits to stock food pantry shelves. Others created colorful fleece blankets and made flashcards for early childhood education programs.

"To me, it's just a great day of service that we can all be together and serve," said Bailey Ham, a senior at Saint Mary's who leads the school's community service efforts. "Our school's always serving the community, and it's just great. The community serves us a lot, being in the heart of downtown. So, just being able to give back just means a lot to us."

"People really want to contribute to their community, and when you just put the call out and say, 'Hey, we need some hands,' they show up, they bring their families," said Shena Thornton, who volunteered at the event along with her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority chapter. "You see how many young people are here – groups, various groups – it's really a wonderful event."

A similar event took place at North Carolina Central University in Durham, where 950 volunteers assembled soup mixes for area food pantries and made blankets for area homeless shelters. At Saint Augustine's University, various events on campus, including a book drive, were held to honor King's legacy.

The United Way hopes to extend the giving spirit through the end of February with a program called 40 Days of Peace. Various food, clothing and book drives and other service events are scheduled.

"Forty Days of Peace is really a recognition that there's not just one day we can serve, that there's a need in the community 365 days," United Way spokeswoman Melanie Davis-Jones said. "People are committed to making a change in their community. So, we just wanted to give them some more tools to be able to do it. They can do it with their church groups or book clubs. Students can do it."

United Way will accept donations from 40 Days of Peace events at their offices and take them to the groups that need them most, Davis-Jones said.

MLK prayer breakfasts draw hundreds

In the Triangle, King Day is also a day of prayer.

MLK Day celebrated with memorial Martin Luther King Day Events

People from different faiths gathered Monday morning for the 35th annual Triangle Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham. WRAL's parent company, Capitol Broadcasting Co., sponsored the event.

"Give us the mind, the will and the courage to wage a peace that can dismantle the networks of terrorism and the structures of injustice, wherever they may exist, that has a choke-hold on peace and a choke-hold on justice," Oliver Muhammad, senior imam at the As Salaam Islamic Center of Raleigh, told the crowd.

The program featured a musical performance by Jekalyn Carr and a keynote address by James H. Johnson Jr., the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Johnson said King would find his dream for America remains elusive because America lacks a strategy to achieve it.

"Everybody would agree that our vision is for an America where everybody has equal opportunity for access, and everybody will say we're dealing with a problem. Ask how are you doing it, that's the strategy, ladies and gentlemen, the road map for change. We're short on that," Johnson said.

One of his recommendations was to enhance educational opportunities for at-risk youth, and he said the mission requires specific action from the faith community, philanthropic community, government and the private sector.

"This collaborative engagement is really about making sure everybody is on the bus in the right seats, headed in the right direction," he said. "If you don't belong on this bus, then go to another one because this is the one we're all about."

Crowds also were in Fayetteville for a breakfast and prayer in honor of King. The 22nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast at the Crown Expo Center drew a standing-room only crowd, and speakers came from across the state to talk about King's work and what it means today to achieve unity in the community.

"I think it's imperative to remember, as long as we possibly can, the sacrifices that Dr. Martin Luther King made, as well as others," said Rev Floyd W Johnston Jr., past president of the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Ministerial Council.

Throughout the day, marches and speeches and even a poetry mixer were planned in memory of King's dream of a multiracial, colorblind society in which all people have equal opportunity. The day is capped with an evening musical celebration at  Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and a concert at Fayetteville State University.

27 Comments

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  • babylaceycarpenter Jan 19, 2015

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    DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR COMPUTER WILL ALSO TY{PE IN lower case letters?

  • larmontg77 Jan 19, 2015

    [quote=14368474]Post by MitziGaynor[/quote I CAN OR NEVER WILL UNDERSTAND THE MIND SET OF PEOPLE. OBAMA IS NOT THE REASON FOR THIS HOLIDAY THIS HOLIDAY WAS PASSED WHEN HE WAS STILL IN COLLEGE OR MAYBE EVEN HIGH SCHOOL.WHY IS IT NOT OK FOR AN EITHIC GROUP TO STAND AND SAY I SEE YOUR SNEEKY EFFORTS TO KEEP ME DOWN BUT I WILL RISE INSPITE OF ALL ATTEMPTS.

  • larmontg77 Jan 19, 2015

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    CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHAT BARRACK OBAMA HAS DONE SO BAD COMPARED TO PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS SUCH AS RICHARD NIXON,ANDREW JOHNSON,LYNDON B JOHNSON AND SO ON.

  • larmontg77 Jan 19, 2015

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    SOUNDS LIKE YOU DO HAVE A PROBLEM. BUT I AGREE WHY IS THERE NOT A NATIONAL HOLIDAY FOR W.E.B DUBOIS OR FREDERICK DOUGLAS AND THE LIST CAN GO ON.

  • tunnybass123 Jan 19, 2015

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    ...yes, I just talked to him and he said to send him your email address and he will send to you. He asked for you to post your email address on this sit, now.

  • tunnybass123 Jan 19, 2015

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    ,,,stop using big words you don't understand. Just ax me

  • tunnybass123 Jan 19, 2015

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    ...Me too, I ahave been crying all day (wink wink)

  • PanthersFan45 Jan 19, 2015

    "King's dream of a multiracial, colorblind society in which all people have equal opportunity"

    Hopefully 1 day that vision will be a reality. We've made great strides as a country but there is still more work to be done.

  • disgusted2010 Jan 19, 2015

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    And shame on you for chastising others who don't hold the same left leaning beliefs you do.

  • Kenny Dunn Jan 19, 2015
    user avatar

    It saddens me to see all the divisiveness espoused on this forum. In response to an article about the last great leader in this country who brought people together. Shame on all of you.

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