Martin Luther

Bettie Julke at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday as the nation’s first day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering and service, with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service — a “day on, not a day off.”

This year, as part of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, they have asked the country to celebrate the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by hosting service events that focus on COVID-19 relief and address challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, such as poverty, hunger, racial injustice, homelessness, mental health, and educational disparities.

King, an African American pastor, brought healing and hope to America. He worked with legislators to make many changes in how this country treated the less fortunate, especially people of color. King modeled Gandhi in non-violent resistance to attain these goals.

Here in Rim Country we have many volunteers who serve in organizations. Rim Country Literacy, Payson Community Kids, Humane Society of Central Arizona, Payson Christian Clinic, National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) and Time Out Inc., to name a few.

Time Out volunteer Bettie Julke visited the King memorial in Washington, D.C. and said the memorial impressed her and was significant to her as a black woman.

“Martin Luther King was an icon of the civil rights movement. He believed in and died for the rights of people of color,” she said. “He spent his life in service to humankind, especially black people and those fighting for social justice, housing, racial justice, voting rights, economic equality and basic human rights. I believe in these rights as a U.S. citizen.”

Julke will join a group of women from the Democrats of Rim Country on Jan. 18 to buy dinner and serve at the Payson Homeless and Homeless Veterans Initiative warming center. That’s one idea to serve. There are many others in which to take part.

On this special day, let us celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service by taking time to help someone less fortunate. Take part in one of the community organizations in Rim Country to perform a service to someone in need.

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