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Civic Impact

Make Martin Luther King Day a true service day with this guide

Many nonprofits are offering service opportunities and celebrations for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21. Here's a brief guide to just some of the available activities:
  • East Liberty's Union Project is holding a free community meal and meeting "about Dr. King's dream, how we pursue it, and how we are living it today." This year's location is Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 250 N. Highland Avenue, 4-7 p.m., sponsored by the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development.
  • Pittsburgh Cares and PUMP are collaborating on Volunteer Speed Dating to match those 21 or older with local nonprofits that can really use volunteers' skills, time and know-how. The event will take place on Jan. 16, 6-8 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District; free pre-registration is recommended, because it's $5 at the door.
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity are asking you to volunteer at the food bank in honor of King and of President Barack Obama's inauguration that day. Register here to participate.
  • The Student Conservation Association and Venture Outdoors are partnering for a free Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Park from 1-4 p.m. on MLK Day in Schenley Park, featuring refreshments, ice skating, snowshoeing, arts and crafts  and more.
  • Carnegie Mellon University has a day of festivities and forums. It begins with a School of Drama tribute at 12:30 p.m. and includes programs by the Arts Greenhouse and the Children's School, a campus "Big Questions" interactive session on "What are you doing for others?" and a keynote address and reception featuring Binta Brown -- described as a "political advisor, humanitarian, award-winning corporate attorney and World Economic Forum global leader" -- at 5 p.m. in the Rangos Ballroom of the University Center.
  • The University of Pittsburgh's week of celebration, called "Becoming a Just Community," begins with an interfaith service full of music, dance and spoken-word performances by students from Pitt and elsewhere on Jan. 18, 7-8 p.m. at the Heinz Memorial Chapel. Included in the week are service projects for Pitt students on MLK Day, a social-justice symposium about faith and spirituality on campus and a lecture by famed activist Angela Davis, now a University of California at Santa Cruz Distinguished Professor Emerita (both on Jan. 24).
Writer: Marty Levine
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