Atlanta, GA — For more than three decades, the third Monday of January has been recognized as MLK Day and many commemorate the day by doing community service.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an Atlanta native, Morehouse College alum and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., made a lasting impact in his fight for equal rights and influenced college students in the Atlanta area to honor his legacy through a Day of Service.
Members of Divine Nine organizations, a collective of the nine Black Greek-Letter Organizations – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Alpha Phi Alpha; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – participated in various service projects throughout the city.
As college students, it can be easy to feel as though participating in community service projects may not be the most fun activity when there are so many other things to be doing during that time. However, when they are able to see the true value in the action rather than seeing it as an inconvenience, it becomes much more meaningful.
Barrington Lincoln, president of the Alpha Rho chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, said community service is “vital” to growth of an area.
“I think giving back and assisting others is vital for our community to grow and to thrive. Service helps us connect our communities while improving them at the same time,” said Lincoln, a senior at Morehouse.
He and his chapter brothers partnered with the Westside Future Fund to help clean up West End Atlanta.
The Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi at Morehouse participated in the 40 Miles & A Mule 5K Walk/Run aimed to alleviate hunger in the community. The event was fueled by the AUC Sandwich Run, created by Morehouse alum Noah McQueen.
Morehouse junior Kivinie Johnson shared what he gained from the experience.
“MLK walked so many miles for us to have rights. And it’s almost like we get the chance to walk in his shoes,” said Johnson, who is also a member of Omega Psi Phi’s Psi chapter.
Clark Atlanta University’s Alpha Pi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha presented a challenge on Instagram to encourage others to serve in their communities.
“Service is ever changing,” said Elisha Azize, a senior at Clark and an AKA. “Everyone needs help in a different way, but they only get that help if it's offered.”
Spelman College senior Alexis Hobbs, member of the Eta Kappa chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, explained the chapter donated personal protective equipment and other items with efforts to support the West End community.
“If MLK was alive today he would want us to be advocates for healthcare regarding the pandemic so all communities are supported and treated with urgency during this fight against COVID-19,” said Hobbs.
Black fraternities and sororities recognize their influence and utilize their platforms to seek change in their communities. King would be proud to see the many acts of service displayed on his birthday, Jan. 15 and through Monday.