"As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Honoring the life of Martin Luther King Jr. is not only a City Year and AmeriCorps tradition but a tradition for millions across the country. Here in Sacramento, thousands gathered together in honor of his legacy and to continue his march for civil rights, social justice and equality for all through partnering with MLK365 in their annual ‘March for the Dream’.
There were diverse coalitions of marchers and banner organizations registering for the March, and local organizations who wanted to provide job, education and general resources to the Sacramento community. There were also local artists, dancers, poets and bands who shared their time and talent on multiple stages throughout the MLK March and Diversity Expo event. Politicians came out to talk about voting as social justice in action and even walked hand in hand with local pastors, community members and heads of organizations for an extra mile at the beginning of the March. AmeriCorps programs united as teams from NCCC, VISTA and City Year to help lead volunteer efforts all day.
Throughout the entire community you could see City Year yellow jackets from The Oak Park Community Center to Sacramento City College and even into downtown Sacramento at the Sacramento Convention Center. At these various locations, City Year AmeriCorps members participated in the march in a variety of ways from supporting float design, to being walking info booths and marching alongside other community members.
In addition to the inspirational MLK365 walk, City Year Sacramento partnered with Kaiser Permanente and HandsOn to host a service day at Rosa Parks K-8, located in South Sacramento. With a break in the rain, the beautiful day brought out nearly 75 Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento employees to come together for a day "on".
As the morning began, Kaiser and City Year welcomed a number of elected officials and school board members to celebrate MLK Day including Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a representative from Senator Richard Pan's Office, Councilmember Larry Carr from the City of Sacramento, Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) Board Member, Diana Rodriguez and SCUSD Superintendent, Jose Banda.
After a warm welcome from all and with the support of the Rosa Parks AmeriCorps team, volunteers worked together to complete nearly 15 projects throughout the school. From beautifying the school grounds through the cleaning of flower beds and the painting of famous quotes on the hallway walls, to the building of new benches and planter boxes, Rosa Parks was a changed school thanks to the teamwork from Kaiser's employees and City Year's Rosa Parks team.
As a team sponsor of Fern Bacon Middle School, also located in South Sacramento, Kaiser has been a continued support to multiple City Year partner schools. Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento's investment in City Year has helped to make better happen for our schools, AmeriCorps members and our students.
The best way to depict the events of the day is through pictures. Here are just a few from the day!
AmeriCorps Team Leader Adrianna Lucero and a few of her St. HOPE teammates worked tirelessly a day before the MLK365 March to help prepare the MLK float.
"City Year had the opportunity to help build the float, pass out balloons, and march right behind the float to help lead the crowd. I was inspired to see so many members of the Sacramento community coming together for MLK Day to honor his legacy and show their commitment to continuing his fight for equity and justice. I could feel the joy and love in the crowd - we were all singing, smiling, and even dancing. It was incredible!" – Adrianna Lucero, AmeriCorps Team Leader at St. Hope Public Schools
Proud AmeriCorps Member leading the MLK365 march from Oak Park to Downtown Sacramento. "Our MLK Service Day was exactly what I signed up for when I joined City Year. We had the opportunity to interact with the community and just really feel our impact." – Zee Velazquez, AmeriCorps Member at St. Hope Public Schools
The Oak Ridge team began their morning (6:30 am) at the Oak Park Community Center to support our school partners and the local community.
Teams from Leataata Floyd, Father Keith B. Kenny, and Fern Bacon all join together at Sacramento City College before the MLK365 Extramile marchers arrive.
Our wonderful recruitment team showing up strong. #SeeWhyCYSac
Paul Willis, Senior Program Manager serving at Father Keith B. Kenny K-8 and Leataata Floyd Elementary, poses for a quick second before being swept away again. “As the leader in charge of managing the logistics, operations and programming at the beginning of the March, the extra mile stage and on the main stage inside the Convention Center, I learned quickly that my leadership style will be a force multiplier impacting the experience of the March participants and volunteers alike. It was powerful and important to know that the City Year knowledge and tools I’ve gained over my 7 years with the organization prepared me for service at this scale.” –Paul Willis
Macey McKinney, Program Manager at Rosa Parks K-8, sits atop of beautiful benches handcrafted by the hard working Kaiser Permanente volunteers and the Rosa Parks City Year team.
Kaiser Permanente, HandsOn, and City Year's Rosa Parks team are ready to take on a day of service!
The Rosa Parks team's hard work day before and day of culminated in inspirational quotes and murals throughout the school.