Belief Gap

For Most People the MLK Holiday Is a Day Off, But for Me It's a Day On

AmeriCorps member Jarrett Jones will be spending MLK Day giving back to his community. Along with over 1,000 volunteers, Jarret will be a part of a beautification project at Curie Metropolitan High School. He'll be documenting this experience through a takeover of our Instagram this Monday. Follow our Instagram now to join in.
  The question was posed to me, “Why spend a day 'on' rather than a day off?” First, let me say that this isn’t a day off for me. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everyone has the power of greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” He also said, “Everyone can be great because anybody can serve.” For the last five years of my life I have been driven by that ideology. The reason I serve is to counteract the negative imagery of Black men broadcasted in Chicago as well as nationally, and to serve as a role model to young Black boys and girls so they can see that Black men are more than what the media portrays us as. By being out here on this day amongst a diverse group of people we are exhibiting that community spirit that Dr. King once dreamed of. By beautifying and creating positive imagery in communities, we are starting to counteract the perception of that imagery from the outside as well as within. It’s through these types of service projects and days "on" that the community itself exhibits that power and greatness that Dr. King spoke of years ago. So, the question shouldn’t be “Why spend a day 'on' rather than off?” It should be, “Why have one day of greatness in service, when you could have a lifetime?” The power should always reside with the people. “The people have to have the power. It belongs to the people.” —Fred Hampton
Photo courtesy of CityYear Chicago.
Jarrett Jones is a Senior AmeriCorps Member with City Year Chicago. He is currently serving at Curtis School of Excellence.

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