Organizers of the recent Martin Luther King commemorative march say they were pleased
to see students from each of the local institutions of higher learning participate
in the Jan. 21 event.
This year, the itinerary included the annual march from the university's G. R. Little
Library to Sheep Harney Elementary School's auditorium for an assembly, broadcasts
of the inauguration of the president of the United States followed by volunteer service
at 13 local sites. Instead of featuring a keynote speaker, organizers welcomed three
local students to the podium. Joshua Finney from Elizabeth City State University,
Demetrius Stokley from Mid-Atlantic Christian University and Travis Hunter from College
of the Albemarle delivered a brief speech. Elected officials joined administrators
from the three institutions of higher learning, the local school system superintendent
and the local president of the NAACP to give greetings to the audience at the elementary
As part of the volunteer service programs, approximately 118 volunteers packed food
for residents of Haiti at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. About 164 community and
student volunteers were busy helping area nonprofit agencies. AMEN Ministries welcomed
volunteers who completed pressure washing, minor repairs and yard improvement projects
at six area homes. Other volunteers sorted and hung clothes at Hopeline's Clothesline
Thrift Store. Volunteers completed simple landscape projects, raking and mulching
at Central Elementary School. At Girls Inc., volunteers painted picnic tables and
wagons; organized a shed; cleaned the building's interior; and packed gift bags for
an upcoming event. Fort Branch Confederate Earthen Fort Civil War Site near Hamilton,
N.C., was another volunteer site.
Darrien Jerman, coordinator of Student Leadership Development and Multicultural Affairs,
said he and other organizers were encouraged by the efforts of area youths and students
on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
"All of the volunteering was completed on Monday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. While
we actively recruited participants from our student organizations, residents from
the community also came to our volunteer sites," he said.
"Participants selected the sites where they would volunteer. We listed the volunteer
sites on the website and they were announced at the end of the assembly," he said.
This marks the sixth year the three institutions have collaborated of a day of community
service. Jerman said the organizers and volunteers were happy to help as many schools
and nonprofit agencies as possible. He said organizers look forward to seeing more
volunteers from all three institutions and the community next year.
"We wanted to expound on our theme of unity. We tried to plan something for everyone.
People have their preferences for the march, attending the annual assembly or simply
volunteering. Most of all we wanted it to be a day on and not simply a day off. Dr.
King's messages of unity and community service are messages the entire community can