ST. MARYS – January in any branch of AmeriCorps means celebrating Martin Luther King Day by honoring his commitment to service. Typically, this day is “a day on and not a day off” for AmeriCorps volunteers.
After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The federal holiday was first observed in 1986.
In 1994, Congress designated the holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with leading this effort.
Dr. King recognized the power of service to strengthen communities and achieve common goals. The MLK Day of Service is a way to transform his life and teachings into community action that helps meet national challenges on issues such as increasing economic opportunity, education, supporting veterans and military families and help communities prepare for and recover from disaster.
In addition to helping solve serious problems, service brings together people from different backgrounds and benefits those who serve. On MLK Day, it is especially fitting that Americans come together in service that not only honors Dr. King, but also builds lasting change in communities.
In 2016, Mayor Robert Howard of St. Marys issued a proclamation on MLK Day designating it as an official day of service. People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are encouraged to serve on King Day, and to make the day the beginning of an ongoing commitment to address needs in their community.