On, Monday, January 16th, 2017 at The William Way LGBT Community Center, the TeamBayard MLK Day of Service planning committee organized a public community volunteer event with other organizations and businesses in the City of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ community.
The event was designed to bring together a diverse group of people in the spirit of service to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin, a gay African-America civil rights activist from West Chester, Pennsylvania who was a lead organizer for the March on Washington for jobs and freedom.
This effort was part of a national program by Global Citizen (MLK365), an organization that “promotes sustainable civic engagement and volunteer opportunities year-round.”
According to their website, “MLK365 was formally kicked off on January 19, 2009 as part of the 14th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service. Using the King Day of Service as a springboard, we have continued to work with partners to encourage year-round civic engagement and ongoing volunteer opportunities.”
“Community issues of focus include literacy, homelessness, poverty, sub-standard housing, the environment, healthcare and social justice.”
The organization embraces “Dr. King’s legacy of non-violence, social justice, equality and excellence to support a mix of on-going custom volunteer programs and specialized individual events throughout the year.”
MLK Day of Service at William Way included: A Clothing Donation Drive, Center for Development and Leadership diaper banking, assembling Safe Sex Kit for COLOURS Organization, Center City and Gayborhood street clean up, HIV Counseling & Testing by PhillyFIGHT, event registration, and Meal serving.
The event was followed by the National Task Force’s Creating Change Conference, which MLK event co-chair, Ms. Sharron Cooks, also helped to organize.
“The goals of both MLK Day of Service at William Way and the Creating Change conference are to create an inclusive environment and bring together a diverse group of people to facilitate social change and community engagement,” says Cooks. “It feels empowering to be able to be a part of so many events centered around creating social change all going on in the same week in Philadelphia, PA.”