MLK Day event highlights service

MLK DoS Image

By Jordan Miller

Following a weekend of ice and freezing rain, William Peace University participated in their annual MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 17. This class-free day is dedicated to getting involved in our community and being hands-on outside of the classroom. 

MLK Day of Service has been a tradition for many years here at WPU. Each year students, staff, and alumni gather to participate in a day filled with community service and engagement. This year’s theme was “Remaining Awake Through Tough Situations.”

Unlike past years, this year was presented with difficulties that prevented many students from participating. With coronavirus cases rising and a Winter Storm Warning issued before the event, many students were unable to attend. 

Even with the challenges presented, a small group of students, alumni, and family were able to attend the event, hosted by the Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Leah Young, and Graduate Assistant, Sabrina Spencer. 

To kick off the day, participants gathered in the Collaboratory Lab to hear a speech from the University Chaplain, Reverend R. Lee Carter. In his speech, Dr. Carter addressed the meaning of service and how students can be an influencer just like Martin Luther King Junior. 

Following Dr. Carter’s speech, junior Miles Carter (no relation) spoke about the past, the present, and his dream in regards to MLK Day. In his speech, Carter reflected upon Martin Luther King Junior’s many accomplishments and “I Have A Dream” speech.

“Dr. King stood for hope, peace, and integrity,” said Carter, a communications major from Greensboro, North Carolina. 

He continued in his speech by acknowledging the successful progress we have made in the past years towards an inclusive society. Lastly, he shared his hopes for the future and how we can make a difference in the world.

“I think at this moment I was not worried about me in particular, I was more worried about if the message was received to others,” said Carter. “[The speech] was everything to me, I loved every bit of it.”

Following the speech was a panel discussion surrounding homelessness in our community. Featured in the panel was the Executive Director of Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End Homelessness, Kim Crawford, Operations Coordinator of Wrenn House, Jacqueline Sapaugh, Executive Director of Family Promise, Scott Ferris, as well as Program Manager of Family Promise, Rashawn Stanley. 

Much of the information received during the panel was shocking to those in attendance, who had little knowledge of how serious housing insecurity is for some in our community.

“It was astonishing to me to see that the most significant percentage of people who are homeless are women of color and children,” said Sijade Nedd, a junior majoring in psychology.

At the end of the event, the group gathered in Belk Hall for a barbecue lunch and then took part in service projects, helping at the Pacer Pantry with donations and cleaning the facilities at Haven House.