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This content was published: May 21, 2014. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

2014 MLK Day of Service promotes Education as a Civil Right

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The 2014 MLK Day of Service – Education is a Civil Right

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley addresses over 900 students at the MLK Day of Service event.

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley addresses over 900 students at the MLK Day of Service event.

On January 20, 2014 students, staff and faculty from PCC joined forces with those from several other Portland area colleges to carry on the vision of equality and equity left behind by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the MLK Day of Service event.

The theme for 2014’s We Are the Dream event was, Education is a Civil Right, and volunteers found themselves engaging in a variety of tasks related to education. Those in participation, numbering over 900, came from Chemeketa, Mt. Hood and Portland Community Colleges, Lewis & Clark, Reed and Warner Pacific colleges as well as Concordia, George Fox, Marylhurst, and Portland State Universities. Volunteers found themselves working on a variety of projects in and around several East Multnomah County public schools, with David Douglas High being the focal point of the event.

Senator Jeff Merkley, an alumnus of David Douglass High School, came out to help open the event and offer his own words of pride and encouragement for students. Before long, nearly 900 college and high school students poured out into the neighboring communities. Some volunteers took time to clean donated books for the East County Schools. Many volunteers milled into the streets on a garbage pick-up, filling up many garbage bags and helping to create a more welcoming surrounding for local students and other residents. Many students too were involved on other East County public school campuses on a variety of beautification projects. In addition to all this, about 7000 College and Career readiness packets, containing a variety of college preparation information, were assembled by volunteers to be distributed to area high school juniors in order to give them a bit of a head start.

AmeriCorps VISTA member, Heidi Whitehouse, staffs the PCC Sign-In Table at the MLK Day of Service event.

AmeriCorps VISTA member, Heidi Whitehouse, staffs the PCC Sign-In Table at the MLK Day of Service event.

This is the 5th year of the Oregon Campus Compact hosted event and it helps us to see that Dr. King’s dream is alive and well. Education is truly a civil right, unfortunately far too many miss out due to a variety of reasons, especially financial reasons. Families may not know about financial assistance available to them, or schools may not have the adequate funding for library books. Regardless of the specific causes, it is clear that Oregon’s student body believe that all individuals should have clear and equitable access to education and will put in the work to help the next generations.

by Bobby Benson, PCC CBL Work Study