Arkansas Tech University’s 2020 remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy will result in the donation of 1,920 personal hygiene items and 600 blankets to local relief organizations.
Goodwill, Main Street Mission, the River Valley Shelter for Battered Women and Children and Salvation Army will be the beneficiaries of volunteer work performed by approximately 75 members of the ATU community on Monday, Jan. 20.
They packed the 2,520 items following a campus walk in remembrance of King.
“To me, it speaks to more than just service,” said Dr. Danielle Brooks, ATU assistant dean for diversity and inclusion. “It speaks to the care of humanity. I think that’s why people woke up so early to come here. It is a cold day, but they came because they know what (King) did, what he endured and what he stood for was bigger than him. I think people understand that today. It’s not only diversity, inclusion, equity and all of those things. It’s people being accepted for who they are. Now, more than ever, I think we are conscious of that and people are realizing how important that is. I think that’s why we have all these people out here this morning.”
It marked the fifth consecutive year that ATU incorporated a community service project into its observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Jay Anderson of Little Rock, a graduate student at ATU, has participated in six consecutive ATU events on the annual holiday celebrating King’s civil rights work.
“It really means a lot and brings back a lot of memories of building our community here on campus,” said Anderson. “I like seeing the people come out, want to have that service experience and celebrate Dr. King.”
For Brooks, the connection to King is personal.
“I’m from Alabama, so I have people in my church and elders in my community who knew Dr. King,” said Brooks. “So, that was always huge to me and we were always taught to remember the vision and remember the dream. Growing up in that environment and going to Selma to do the march on Bloody Sunday each year, that was extremely important to me. It hits home for me because so much of his work was done and started where I came from.”
This year marks the 91st anniversary of King’s birth. A federal holiday scheduled to coincide with his birthday has been observed since 1986.
Visit www.atu.edu/diversity to learn more about the ATU Department of Diversity and Inclusion.