On behalf of the Network for Social Justice-School and Youth Committee, please accept our gratitude to everyone who took part in our inaugural MLK Day of Service at Winchester High School this past Sunday, January 19th. Your presence, energy and engagement made the day a success, and showed us what this community is capable of!
Partnering with Winchester Public Schools and Service Learning, the Day of Service focused on bringing volunteerism and awareness-raising projects related to climate change, civic engagement, economic redistribution and human rights to the Winchester community. Students from Winchester High School’s Connect and Commit club presented creative hands-on projects on composting, recycled art and vegan food, while the Network spearheaded a town-wide toiletry drive for the Council of Social Concern in Woburn.
This Day of Service was inspired by Dr. King’s concept of radical interconnectedness. Finding and examining the inherent links between issues such as the climate, race, gender and the economy, we can better understand King’s unifying message of mutuality. As King once said, “everything and everyone on our small planet in our vast solar system is connected,” and for us that served as the inspiration behind the event. This message was underscored in the speeches given by Winchester Public School Superintendent Judy Evans, Network Executive Director Liora Norwich, Climatologist John Keller, Council of Social Concern Executive Director Dean Solomon, and Boston Latin 11th grader and climate activist Naomi Bethune, as well as the songs beautifully performed by the Winchester High School choir.
The Day was truly an ensemble program:
-Representatives from the organizations such as Amnesty International, the Census, Winchester Trails, Food Link, Rise Against Hunger, Winchester Public Library, Climate Action Council, 350 Metrowest, Cool Winchester, and Days for Girls staffed tables to bolster community support for their important work.
-With the support of over 300 community members of all ages, from toddlers to older adults, we were able to pack almost 80 boxes of personal care items for the Council of Social Concern. Council Executive Director Dean Solomon estimated the worth of the donated items to be around $5,000.
-Generous in-kind gifts of trucks and boxes from BK Organizing and Simply Stage It made the colossal effort of transporting donations to the Council possible.
Looking forward, the Network believes this event will be the beginning of a new MLK Day tradition in Winchester. We hope to develop this initiative even further in coming years by expanding the number of community partners and sites to create a wholly inclusive program that further strengthens the fabric of our community.