Dozens spend their MLK Day giving back to the community in Columbus


COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Government buildings are closed today. So are the banks. And, many schools.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the third Monday each January. It is also the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service.

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In 1957, in Montgomery, Alabama, Reverend King told his audience, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?

“A day on, not a day off.” That was the motto volunteers in Columbus followed on Martin Luther King Day.

For these workers, it was the opportunity to use their time to clean up the local Boys and Girls Club.

That kind of service Zimiko Turner said was one of many things Martin Luther King Jr. stood for.

“The idea against non-violent protests. The idea of standing up for the little people. The idea of fighting for the rights of all is important for us,” said Turner. “And just the idea of service, giving back. Service is the rent that we pay for our stay here on this earth.

Martin Luther King Jr. was well-remembered for being a passionate Civil Rights activist – where he played a major role in creating the Civil Rights and Voting Act in 1964 at the age of 35.

But of the many things he stood for – education was something he always championed.

And what better way to highlight the importance of education on this day?

Errolyn Gray, a Volunteer Center Director for United way, held an event focused on helping teachers in need.

“Around this time of the year our teachers start to run low on school supplies. And they start to go into their personal funds because they do care about the needs of their students. So this outreach event was geared up to give them the supplies for their classrooms for free,” said Gray.

Being a teacher does come with a lot of responsibility.

And giving back any way possible to them is something Lawrence Hill prides himself in.

“We see that your work is diligent and we’re trying to give back. Just trying to help, just trying to make sure we’re pushing together the same message of being great,” said Hill.

Although not a federal holiday, many people also spend September 11 in service to their community.