Johnson City volunteers, students and political action committees plan to hold service days of projects and celebrations to honor civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on and around Monday’s national holiday.
Students, faculty and staff from East Tennessee State University’s Community Service Programs, led by Coordinator for Greek Life and Community Service Programs Joy Fulkerson, will be dispersed throughout the city volunteering on Saturday and Monday.
A group of volunteers will be at Rocky Mount Living History Museum in Piney Flats from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday to help lay pavers under picnic tables and scrape paint from the porch area.
Also on Saturday, the 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Prayer Breakfast will be held at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church, 225 Princeton Road, at 9 a.m. At 9:30, a program, “10 Footsteps to Change,” a dramatic interpretation of desegregation of East Tennessee State College during 1956-1958, will be narrated by Herb Parker.
Sunday, a worship service sponsored by West Main Street Christian Church and First Presbyterian Church, will be held at First Presbyterian, 105 S. Boone St., at 5 p.m.
On Monday, Fulkerson said a group of 50 or more students will meet on campus and then disperse to various locations, such as working with Appalachian Service Project from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. to improve substandard private homes, or painting the office inside the Coalition for Kids facility on Watauga Road, also from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Community service students will be joined by the ETSU Black Affairs Association’s group of 10 or more to help with a birthday celebration for King at the Carver Recreation Center on West Market Street. Tusculum College volunteers will also participate in the event.
A Martin Luther King Jr. Story Time will be held for ages 6-12 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Carver.
“They’ll be having several things, such as arts and crafts and some storytelling. We will be doing the Unity Walk,” Laura Terry, director of Multicultural Affairs at ETSU said. “They’ll be making signs in the arts and crafts area ... that they’ll be carrying with them to do the Unity Walk.”
Terry said lunch will be provided to students participating in the birthday celebration.
A blood drive by the American Red Cross will be also be held at Carver from noon until 6 p.m. for ages 18 and older. Fulkerson said some of her volunteers from ETSU will assist with registration, as well as work the canteen area.
She said the student volunteers are excited about volunteering Saturday and Monday.
“Our role on campus is to help really connect our students to opportunities to serve and there’s really no better time to ... kick off the year than the Martin Luther King Day of Service,” Fulkerson said. “Often time, I think, we need to stop and sort of take stock of what we’ve been given and what we have and sort of serve others.”
At 6 p.m. Monday, Carver Recreation will also hold a Martin Luther King Jr. dinner for all ages. The guest speaker at the event will be former Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints cornerback Carl Lee III, who also is the former head coach at West Virginia State University.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee will host a Martin Luther King Day Food Drive, setting up barrels at Walmart, IGA and Price Less Foods grocery stores in the region. According to a news release, the food bank hopes to collect much needed items, such as peanut butter, cereal, rice, canned meats, canned soups, boxed meals, pasta, macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta sauce and dried beans.
The locations where people can donate include:
- Walmart — Bristol, Elizabethton, Unicoi, Johnson City and Kingsport.
- IGA — Erwin, Johnson City and Kingsport.
- Price Less Foods — Johnson City and Kingsport.
Across town at the Holiday Inn, 101 W. Springbrook Drive, the Democratic Resource Center will host a 2013 Presidential Inauguration Celebration from 6-10 p.m.
Walter Buford, organizer of the event and a member of the Washington County Democratic Party, said the night will include a variety of entertainment featuring The Scat Cats, Blue Morrow, Tommy White and the Shiloh Baptist Church Choir.
He said there will also be special tributes for President Barack Obama, as well as a performance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech by Dr. Daryl Carter and Tracy Haynes.
Former state Rep. Nathan Vaughn, from Kingsport, will give the opening address.
The event is a fundraiser for the Northeast Tennessee Democratic Resource Center and tickets are $25 each. To buy tickets, call 282-2081 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs Office will sponsor a cake-cutting celebration in the atrium at the D.P. Culp University Center on Tuesday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.