Martin Luther King Jr. Week: Giving Back to the Community

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Missouri Western continued to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day all last week, starting off on Tuesday, Jan. 20, with a group of 13 volunteers helping out with Habitat for Humanity.

In charge of this event, as well as the rest of Martin Luther King Jr. Week, is Multicultural Educational Coordinator Latoya Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick mentioned that Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that works with families who are poor or do not have the finances to build homes they can afford. She noted that both the group of volunteers as well as herself are specifically working to keep water out from the foundation of the house being built.

Latoya also briefly mentioned that this organization relies on volunteers to help build the homes.

Harlan Woodward, one of the main Habitat for Humanity workers on site, explained that the work they do is done with help of volunteers and that he greatly appreciates the help the students are providing for this project.

Fitzpatrick saw the cause of Habitat for Humanity as a way for the volunteers and workers to give back to people who do not have a lot, and explained that the event fits in well with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Well MLK was all about social justice and equality for all and making sure that you were well educated about different social justice issues going on,” Fitzpatrick said.

She mentioned that Habitat for Humanity is a social justice issue, in a way that some are not as willing to help those less fortunate.

Western does Habitat for Humanity every year, and it usually has a good turnout.

With so many students coming out to help with and enjoying Habitat for Humanity, Fitzpatrick decided to continue with it and chose it as one of the events for Martin Luther King Jr. Week.

Students Jonathan Julion and Elijah Todd chose to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in order to give back to the community.

“It’s never the wrong time to give back,” Julion said.

“Just coming out and being a part of something that’s bigger than yourself,” Todd said.

Habitat for Humanity was only the first event of Martin Luther King Jr. Week.

On Wednesday, Jan. 21, the Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award Banquet took place, followed by a vigil.

Fitzpatrick believes that the Drum Major for Justice Awards help to recognize people who have made a difference.

“Fighting every day for equal rights for everyone can sometimes be a thankless job, so we want to make sure we thank those who have been really stepping out there,” Fitzpatrick said.

The last event of the week, a movie night, took place on Thursday, Jan. 22.

The movie featured was “Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom.”  This movie was about the famous leader Nelson Mandela.

Fitzpatrick explained that the message of the movie was to be educational to the students of Western, which fits the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Week.

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