“President-elect Barack Obama said it best. This election was not about him. It is about us. It is a call to the people of consciousness to rise up and move us forward in the areas where we have gotten stuck,” said the Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “We have a lot of work cut out for us.”
Before her death, Coretta Scott King directed the country to honor the life of her husband by participating in a day of volunteer service, a response to his selfless life work as a community organizer.
In keeping with the King legacy, Obama is calling on all Americans to join him in ongoing active citizenship. He and Vice President-elect Joe Biden will be joining thousands of volunteers on Jan. 19, the national day of service, which observes the life of the slain civil rights leader. The Presidential Inaugural Committee says this will be the beginning of a broader push for Americans to give back throughout the year.
In response to Obama’s request, there are now more than 8,500 service events registered on USAservice.org where the PIC encouraged citizens to sign up to organize or attend an event in their local community.
Individuals aren’t the only ones who are answering the call to service. The idea of corporate responsibility has exploded in corporate America. Companies, both large and small, have joined the national tribute by organizing specific King Day volunteer opportunities and organizing their employees and/or customers to volunteer or donate services and products to needy causes.
“Without service I think we would self destruct as a nation and individuals could self destruct also,” Bernice King says. “To some degree, from the smallest contribution to the greatest sacrifice, service is what helps us to remember our humanity, our connectedness, and our responsibility to improving and advancing our society and our culture.”
Bernice King will be speaking at the King Center in Atlanta at an event sponsored by Allstate Insurance for Give Back Day, a component of Beyond February, a year-round program designed to expand Black History Month beyond February.
With Allstate, the celebration does not conclude with King’s speech. From there, more than 1,000 volunteers have signed up to head out into the streets of Atlanta, Martin Luther King Jr.’s hometown, and volunteer their time with several participating organizations. It doesn’t stop there either. Allstate collaborated with Volunteermatch.org to direct visitors from the Give Back Day Website to organizations anywhere in the U.S. that have planned outreach projects for MLK Day.
“They enter in their zip code and a ton of activities come up for Jan. 19 throughout the country,” says Kim Turner, the integrated marketing communications manager for Allstate. “If you live in Chicago, Atlanta, New York, or Podunk, Miss., there is a place for you to participate.”
Employees at Allstate and Allstate’s privately-owned agencies are also encouraged to get involved. “In Philadelphia, Allstate employees