The inaugural Franklin County MLK Day of Service on the national holiday and event which is observed as “a day on, not a day off”, is a community-wide celebration to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Franklin County event will be on January 20, 2020, 8am-2pm, at Central Presbyterian Church on the Square in downtown Chambersburg. This will be a unique day of fellowship, service and learning for friends and neighbors to join together in the spirt of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Beloved Community. This event is free and open to the community.
The day will begin with a commemorative breakfast at 8am featuring keynote speakers Hugh and Suzette Davis. The Davises moved to Franklin County in 2015 when Hugh was hired as the CEO of Menno Haven. Both Hugh and Suzette are passionate about the intersection of spirituality and social justice. Their keynote speech will set the tone for the day as participants begin their MLK Day experience.
Following the breakfast, participants can choose to either volunteer for a service project with a local non – profit or can attend educational workshops, roundtables and movie discussions. The day’s topics range from white privilege to bystander behavior to racism. Workshops are being facilitated by members of Racial Reconciliation, a grass roots group that formed two years ago to address racism in Franklin County.
A range of volunteer service projects are available for those looking to make a direct connection with a community organization. There are a variety of cleaning, painting and organizing projects with over 100 volunteer slots.
- Chambersburg Council for the Arts
- Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter
- Occupational Services Inc.
- Network Ministries
- Maranatha Ministries Food Pantry and Shelter
- South Central Community Action Programs
- Franklin County Homeless Shelter
- Chambersburg YMCA
- First Start Partnerships
- Franklin County Legal Services
- Diaper Depot (a ministry of Central Presbyterian Church)
- The Salvation Army Thrift Store
- Chambersburg Hospital.
In addition to volunteer service projects at local non- profits, organizers are working with Chambersburg Area School District to paint two UNITY murals at Chambersburg Area Senior High School (CASHS) and Stevens Elementary school. CASHS art teacher Holly Strayer is heading up the projects which provide an opportunity for staff, students, families and community members to bring the spirit of a Beloved Community to life through art.
The afternoon program will begin with lunch at 12:30pm and will feature a keynote speech by Dr. Linda Thomas Worthy, Executive Director of the Franklin County Housing Authority, who will share her vision of a Beloved Community. Dr. Thomas Worthy is a founding member of Racial Reconciliation and has spent her entire life working on social justice issues. A collaborative community dance and spoken poetry performances will be incorporated into the program.
Organizers of the event have created a schedule that is flexible and allows for participation in either parts of or the entire day.
The event is available to the community for free because of the generous support of sponsors. The presenting sponsor is Menno Haven. Other sponsors include Keystone Health, Worthy Consulting and Training, LLC, Noelker and Hull Associates, Franklin County Housing Authority, Mr. Phab Photos, and Wellspan Health. Attendees can choose to register for parts of or the entire program. The event is being coordinated by the Franklin County Coalition for Progress and Racial Reconciliation.
Legislation signed in 1983 marked the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that leads service and volunteering, with leading this effort. Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a “day on, not a day off.” MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.” Dr. Martin Luther King popularized the notion of the “Beloved Community”. King envisioned the Beloved Community as a society based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one’s fellow human beings. Fundamental to the concept of the Beloved Community is inclusiveness, both economic and social.