The Union Recorder

January 16, 2014

Community to reflect on King legacy, vision

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE —

The Milledgeville-Baldwin County community will honor the legacy and vision of civil rights advocate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday as the Day of Service marks the 30th anniversary of the federal holiday. 

As families, friends and coworkers across the nation become empowered to bridge barriers, the local community will take part in several service projects for this year’s theme “Engaging the Dream: Conversations to Actions.” 

“It’s important for people to recall, remember and reflect upon the legacy of Dr. King and other civil rights activist icons. It’s not only about observing what Dr. Martin Luther King stood for, but most importantly, taking his teachings ... and applying them to present day dialogue and action,” said Emmanuel Little, member of the 2014 MLK planning committee. “A lot of lessons can be learned through their struggles, and we can relate those struggles to our daily lives in 2014. We should continue to apply their principles to ... better future generations.”

Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County (CISMBC) and the Georgia College GIVE Center are collaborating to kick off Monday’s Day of Service with school beautification projects at the Early Learning Center, Creekside Elementary and Eagle Ridge Elementary from 9 a.m. to noon. 

“We will be painting some trim, cleaning walls, spreading mulch in the playground areas, picking up trash and other general beautification projects,” said Sandy Baxter, executive director of CISMBC. “We’ll be providing water and light snacks, as well as most of the tools and supplies needed.”

As of Thursday afternoon, 110 volunteers from the Georgia College campus, AmeriCorps VISTA, Georgia Power and the community signed up to help with the school projects. Volunteers are urged to bring work gloves and latex gloves.

“Majority of our volunteers are Georgia College students, faculty and staff, and we also have had significant involvement from the community. This is going to be a real joint effort,” Baxter said. “We encourage everyone to get involved in one of the activities on MLK Day. He continues to inspire the best in the human race and we hope everyone in our community will come together to do this in his honor.”

At noon, the community will march and parade from Huley Park to the Georgia College Arts & Sciences Auditorium. Throughout the march, Georgia College students will deliver excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches in front of the Black Heritage Plaza on McIntosh Street, the Baldwin County Courthouse and Georgia College Magnolia Ballroom.

“The march will hark back to those days of the civil rights movement,” Little said. “We invite people of all ages to come out to the event because it’s a nice way to bring the new generation back to some of the different issues people faced back then.”

A tribute service will follow at 1 p.m. in the Arts & Sciences Auditorium with keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. John Todd Shipp, who has served more than 28 years in the United States Army as a commissioned army officer. Having served as an educator in the Bibb County public school system, Shipp is currently the assistant principal at Lamar County High School.

“The 100 Black Men of Milledgeville will recognize individuals with a plaque for their service and dedication to the community,” Little said. “The tribute is a great way to reflect upon the legacy of Dr. King, and get inspired to community service and social justice.”

Following the tribute service, a community cookout will be held at Huley Park at 3  p.m. for food and fellowship. A “Conversations to Action” discussion panel will also convene to discuss community and social issues related to the topics of social, racial, religion and economics.

“The cookout will be a laid back way for people to interact with each other. We welcome vendors to come out and set up, especially food and activities for children,” Little said. “The discussion panel is an effort to encourage more dialogue about different issues in the local community and nationwide.”

The Georgia College shuttle will provide limited transportation throughout the day to take individuals to the various Day of Service sites.

“We’re excited to be part of the Day of Service,” said Kendall Stiles, director of the GIVE Center. “This is a good opportunity for the community and Georgia College to come together to make a difference in the community.”

For more information about Monday’s events and activities call Little at 478-445-8155, or email emmanuel.little@gcsu.edu. To volunteer to help beautify the local schools, call the CISMBC office at 478-452-3408. To set up as a vendor during the cookout at Huley Park, call Cyndee Edwards at 478-445-0785.