UNA honors MLK with a day of service

UNA partnered with Numana, Inc. on a Day of Service, where volunteers packaged more than 30,000 meals for local food pantries. 

Emma Hall Volunteer Writer [email protected]

The University of North Alabama held its fifth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Jan. 20. 

An oportunity to serve at the MLK Day of Service was to package food for the homeless. Patrons could then participate in a peaceful march in honor of the late civil rights activist. The overall day was designed to serve the community. 

At the event, there were over 300 students — faculty and members of the Shoals community that attended — and in the end, around 30,000 meals were packaged and sent to feed the homeless. After, there was a short service honoring Dr. King. Then, the peaceful march took place where a range of races and people of all ages sang in honor of Dr. King and the many more who fought for civil rights in this country. 

The university, the students and organizations behind the MLK Day of Service commemorated several American heroes through this event. A considerable amount of people came out to support and aid this event despite the cold. 

Throughout the day, students and faculty had to opportunity to think about what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day meant to them. 

“It is a day of unity and reflection on all Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and making sure his ideas and concepts are passed down from generation to generation,” junior Shalandria Cosby said.

For an event such as this to bring people of all different ethnicities and backgrounds together to complete one goal as a community, it shows that unity is something to be proud of at the university. 

Junior Justin Similton, stated that the civil rights movement paved the way for many of the patrons to be here today. 

“Everyone has a role to play,” Similton said. “It is never a one-man show when it comes to something as big as the civil rights movement. It is important to find a team and get together so we can get more things done.”

Sophomore Shania Hackett shared a similar sentiment. 

“There are so many words to describe him [Dr. King],” Hackett said. “I think he’s really helped break down barriers between races and unite people and that there is only one race and that is the human race”.

These words from students are empowering to hear. Everyone who showed took time out of their day to come together and stand as one in honor of a movement way bigger than themselves. Is this not what Dr. King would have wanted?

“That is the best way we honor King, to be extremists of love and justice, to be humble and flexible, and to do so in community knowing that it may not be popular and that our approval may dip, but to hold on to what is good and to press on for [a] more perfect union,” Ansley Quiros, Assistant History Professor said.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life and dedicated his work to all the people that would come after him so they would have a chance to enjoy their lives in freedom and joy. It should be our duty as a community to come together in a day of service, to stand up to oppression and to commemorate the life of the people that fought for us before we ever knew. It is important that events like these are continued for years to come, inspiring even more people to come out and stand with their community.