Honoring MLK with A Day of Service

January 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
President-elect Obama celebrated the King holiday by volunteering his time to the community. When he called on the nation to do the same, many in the Central Valley accepted his challenge. Hundreds like Fresno city council president Cynthia Sterling march side-by-side though downtown Fresno celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of nominating the country's first African-American president.

"The doors were open so today we're walking as one. At any other point in our lifetime we might not be able to see."

Some are celebrating with songs; others like Cathy Caples with Hands on Central California are celebrating with service. "We thought if we could have more people out there bring more food to the food bank that could be a service activity or us this year."

The mountain of food drive answers a call from president elect Obama for every American to pitch in while honoring what would have been Dr. King's 80th birthday.

"Martin Luther King III is here with me. His father Dr. King...He said everybody can be great... because anybody can serve."

This group of high school students from all over the Central Valley are serving their community today. Bullard High School sophomore Bryce Hankla and McLean High School senior Raul Vidales are planning to paint a mural of history on this 60-foot wall.

"I love helping out people. Something about it gives me fulfillment I guess."

"Inspire people when people walk they can see things our community did."

A mural at Catholic Charities was created 11 years ago by a different set of high school students. The students we talked with today like Devon Jacoby says they want their project to be a call to action.

"Trying to come up with a mural that persuades people to get involved with your community and get involved with civil service."

Jacoby says if their future president is dedicated to serve everyone else can do the same.

"He's a president; he's got more power than us. We might be small but with all of us getting together I think we can make a small effect in the community. It will grow from there."

It will take nearly 100 students to complete the mural featuring leaders like Martin Luther King, Caesar Chavez and Gandhi. They expect to have it finished and on display at the hands on central California building in the Tower District---by mid March.


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