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Identity & Community

Area Nonprofits, Universities to Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with Day of Service

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Pittsburgh area nonprofits and universities will be holding events and coordinating volunteer efforts Monday commemorating King’s legacy.

To help coordinate these efforts, Pittsburgh Cares is launching a page on their website where volunteer organizations can post opportunities for citizens to get involved and commemorate the holiday.

According to Riley Baker, Pittsburgh Cares director of retired and senior volunteer programs, the day was made a national day of service to focus on King’s core ideals.

“It really is about living Martin Luther King’s dream of a just society through social activism, and volunteerism is a great way to really engage in that dream,” Baker said.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh will also be recognizing the day of service with four different projects. Volunteers will be working at the Braddock Salvation Army, McKeesport Family Center, Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Lincoln-Lemington and Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Edgewood.

According to Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Coordinator Derek Morris the organization has met their volunteer capacity for these events.

“Martin Luther King Day is certainly a special day for us and a day that we want to highlight community service, but that’s something that we do year round and we’re always looking for help,” Morris said.

Local universities will also be celebrating the holiday. The University of Pittsburgh is holding a weeklong celebration from Jan. 17 until Jan. 24 titled “Becoming a Just Community.” The week will feature planned service opportunities for students, an evening candlelight vigil on the steps of the Cathedral of Learning and conclude with a Shabbat Dinner at the Hillel Jewish University Center.

Carnegie Mellon University will also host their celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a variety of events, including a keynote address by former U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, titled “Leading with Courage and Conviction.”