Thursday, January 14, 2010

U.S. House Calls on Americans to Serve on King Day

Washington D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives is calling on Americans to pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in community service projects on the January 18 King Holiday.


Earlier today, the House unanimously passed a resolution honoring Dr. King and expressing its continued commitment to observing the King holiday as a national day of service. The bipartisan resolution was spearheaded by members of the House National Service Congressional Caucus, led by co-chairs Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and David Price (D-NC).


"As January 18th quickly approaches, I encourage my fellow Members of Congress and constituents to take advantage of the countless service activities available in your local communities," said Rep. Platts, who introduced the resolution.  "As we reflect on the great gift of compassion and selflessness that Dr. King has given us in both his life and death, may we remember his words, "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."


"Treating this day as a "day on, not a day off," by taking part in service projects is a fitting way to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.," Rep. Price said. "In fact, I expect he would encourage us to seek out opportunities for public service and civic engagement each and every day." 


In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort.


The Corporation has joined with the King Center and community groups, faith-based organizations, schools, and businesses nationwide to help Americans in every state turn King Day into a day of service to meet local needs.  Volunteers will be weatherizing homes, beautifying schools, providing job counseling, collecting and distributing food, and more.  Many organizations use King Day to kick off volunteer efforts that last throughout the year.


Americans are encouraged to visit to find volunteer opportunities in their communities and get ideas for creating their own projects.


Below is the text of the resolution: 


H. RES. 1002:  Honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and encouraging the continued commitment to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of service.


Whereas the King Holiday and Service Act, a law designating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a national day of volunteer service, was signed into law in 1994;


Whereas millions of individuals have been inspired by the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to serve their neighbors and communities every 3rd Monday of January;


Whereas the 2009 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service marked a milestone in the service movement, bringing together more than 1 million volunteers who served in more than 13,000 projects nationwide;


Whereas serving one's community for the betterment of every individual speaks to the high character, transformative world view, and everyday practice of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;


Whereas the efforts of national service volunteers have been a steadfast foundation of our Nation's infrastructure, supporting not only individuals and families in need, but acting in response to national catastrophes and natural disasters;


Whereas the importance of service was recognized through the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (Public Law 111-13) in April 2009;


Whereas individuals have the opportunity to participate in thousands of scheduled community service projects and events all across the Nation, as well as to create and implement community service projects where a need for such projects has been identified;


Whereas the Corporation for National and Community Service is working with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and thousands of other nonprofit, community, national service, and education organizations across the Nation to encourage individuals to serve on this holiday and throughout the year; and


Whereas leaders at the Federal, State, and local level are planning to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to rally our Nation to commit to serve and make an ongoing commitment to service: Now, therefore, be it


Resolved, That the House of Representatives--


(1) encourages all individuals in the United States to pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through participation in community service projects on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day;


(2) recognizes the inherent value of community service and volunteerism in the creation of civil society and as a means of non-violent community progress consistent with the works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.;


(3) recognizes the benefits of the collaborative work by the many organizations that promote, facilitate, and carry out needed service projects nationwide;


(4) encourages its members and colleagues to urge their constituents to participate in community service projects; and


(5) acknowledges that by serving one's country, one's community, and one's neighbor our Nation makes progress in civility, equality, and unity consistent with the values and life's work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service:

In 1994, Congress passed legislation encouraging Americans to observe the King Holiday as a national day of service that brings people together from different backgrounds to meet needs in their community. The Corporation for National and Community Service was designated as the lead federal agency to execute the King Day of Service. Participation has grown every year since its inception. The King Day of Service provides American the opportunity to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King through service to meet local and national needs. For more information, visit or


The Corporation for National and Community Service:

The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service each year through its core programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information about the Corporation, visit


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The CalServe Network posts news and updates of interest to the service-learning field in California. News and updates are drawn from the CalServe List Serve and the National K-12 Service-Learning List Serve and various other sources.