The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
With an emphasis on the slain civil rights leader’s commitment to service, a group of about 20 volunteers showed up to help clean Fred Moore Park on Saturday morning. Their work helped kick off local Martin Luther King Jr. Day observations, which continue Monday.
“I feel it’s really important for our community to be involved,” said Ericca Cordier, a Denton resident of three years. This is her second year to participate in the MLK festivities.
“These important events are always so under-attended and I think these positive events should have larger turnout, hopefully encouraging our youth to get out and be involved,” Cordier said while cleaning the park.
This message of service is just what Denesha Factory wanted when she proposed the idea to the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center advisory board.
“Since we weren’t going to have a parade, I suggested a day of service — because that’s what the day was mandated as, not a day of rest as we know it today,” said Factory, a recreation specialist at the center.
She thought the cleanup was a success.
“Volunteers were very excited and already making suggestions for next year,” Factory said.
After the park cleanup, residents headed down the road to the King recreation center for a celebration that included a candlelight vigil, gospel hymns and a dance performance.
Keynote speaker Alma Clark, a longtime member of the community, concluded the celebration with a heartfelt message that summed up the reason for the holiday.
“Our opportunity is now,” said Clark, who worked for 25 years at the University of North Texas. “Now is the time to sow the seeds of kindness and the seeds of service, volunteer … even if it’s just for an hour at your local school.”
Denton City Council member Kevin Roden said he was happy to be part of a celebration that’s rich in cultural significance.
“This is what King would want, to bring people together,” Roden said. “MLK Day continues to be a good time to educate the public.”
Loud applause broke out after Clark ended her speech by saying, “The dream is still alive. God bless America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, because you made it that way.”
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLK DAY EVENTS
Martin Luther King. Jr. Day observations continue Monday:
9 a.m. to noon — Community service project at Fred Moore Day Nursery School, 821 Cross Timber St., led by the Denton Faith Alliance. Volunteers will help with projects on the school grounds.
11 a.m. — Free flag football for youths at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 1300 Wilson St. Call 940-349-8575.
3 p.m. — Rally at the University of North Texas Union, 1155 Union Circle. March begins at 4 p.m.; marchers will meet up with community members at Fred Moore Park at 5 p.m., then continue to Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center for the concluding celebration.