Chicago, Illinois – January 2, 2013 - In the spirit of promoting peace, inspiring community service, and honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s legacy, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will host a series of events during the King holiday weekend aimed at effecting change in the spirit of unity. Activities will get underway on Saturday, January 19 continue on January 20 and culminate on January 21, the national day set aside to celebrate King’s birthday.
The events -- America’s Sunday Suppers, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Service Day of Service and 40 Days of Peace Projects -- are aimed at engaging the community in dialogue, combating the crime plague crippling our communities, and providing strategies to help weather the economic storm.
The Sunday Suppers will take place worldwide where the Sorority has chapters. The 40 Days of Peace Project will be concentrated in Miami, California’s Bay Area, Seattle, Washington; Bridgeport/Fairfield County of Connecticut, Louisville, Atlanta, Kansas City, Mo.; Oklahoma City, Dallas, Baton Rouge, La., St. Thomas/St. John/St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, Richmond, Va., Durham, North Carolina, Nashville, Birmingham, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Mo., and Jersey City, NJ.
According to Alpha Kappa Alpha’s international president, Attorney Carolyn House Stewart, the events provide a forum where the Sorority can work jointly with those it serves to find solutions to challenges that impact them. To that end, the King day events will fortify Alpha Kappa Alpha’s already strong bonds to the communities it serves worldwide.
Over 20,000 members in graduate and undergraduate chapters will partner with churches and other faith-based organizations, local military and veteran agencies, with colleges and universities, and other civic and social organizations. To achieve their goal, members will fan out to hundreds cities and neighborhoods where it has chapters. The Sorority is expected to positively impact the lives of over 100,000 people.
The King-inspired initiatives are being made possible through a $25,000 leadership grant from Points of Light, and a $20,000 grant from Service for Peace, a Corporation for National & Community Service intermediary grantees. The goals of the award are to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; mobilize volunteers to serve; generate civic dialogue; and inspire continued community service.
It is the second consecutive year AKA has been awarded the grant from Points of Light, certainly testimony to the Sorority's success in fulfilling the Network’s mission and continuing King’s legacy. During its first year of participation in 2012, over 20,000 members participated in the Suppers and the Day of Service and impacted over 119,419 nationwide.
America’s Sunday Suppers will be patterned after the suppers King hosted during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. At these spiritual-based events, King gathered the community to seek solutions to challenges facing society. With these Suppers as a model, AKA will engage the participants in the topics expected to cross the conversational spectrum including homelessness, poverty, healthcare, the economy, racism, politics, leadership, and more.
The Suppers and the Day of Service are expected to attract a range of citizens including the military, educators, healthcare professionals, the homeless and others who make up the fabric of society. The initiative will also draw from all ages and all backgrounds.
In addition to a spirited discussion, the Sorority will show a movie whose message is aimed at sparking dialogue, provoking ideas and galvanizing everyone around a common mission: to tackle the problems that pose barriers to progress.
As part of the 40 Day of Peace Project, chapters will host community forums/summits designed to engage the community in discussion of crime and crime prevention in their local areas. In keeping with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a beloved community, participants will be reminded of his life, legacy, and commitment to service through formal presentations and video clips.
On January 21, the holiday in King’s honor, members will host a service project based on the local community’s most urgent need. Projects will include non-perishable food and clothing drives, tutoring/providing homework help for youth, community beautification projects and food service at homeless shelters. Chapters will be encouraged to collect items and prepare care packages to be sent to troops and families serving on active duty and to support local veteran organizations in meeting their constituents’
In recognition of the impact the economy is having on our lives, this year, an economic-development component has been added to the service projects. Local chapters will collaborate with partners to provide support, services, and resources to the economically disadvantaged with special attention given to veterans, active duty members of the military and their families. Chapters will host resume workshops, job panels, and interviewing training and provide information on the Earned Income Tax Credit program and available free tax preparation services. Members will also host activities aimed at increasing knowledge about individual and household finances, homeownership, minimizing risk of losing assets, arranging for the disposal of an estate, entrepreneurship and encouraging business development and creating employment opportunities in targeted neighborhoods in Urban Enterprise Zones
Central to the success of the program is the involvement of young people from the Emerging Young Leaders program. This signature program impacts the lives of 10,000 girls in grades six through eight by providing leadership development, civic engagement, enhanced academic preparation and character building. Input from the young people in this initiative will enhance their understanding of the life and legacy of Dr. King and his commitment to human rights, community service and equal opportunities for all Americans.
Stewart said the Sorority’s 260,000 members in 975 chapters worldwide have always used the occasion of King’s Birthday to lift up the civil rights hero's memory through service and the grants directly parallel its King Day service mission.
Stewart added that it is fitting that the events coincide with the Sorority’s 105-year anniversary, whose mission is rooted in the same commitment to service that Points of Light and Service for Peace organizations embrace.
President Stewart will preside over a Sunday Supper in Tampa, Florida. Area chapters have invited military personnel from MacDill Air Force Base to the dinner as part of the Sorority’s mission to benefit military families. Following the Supper, the chapters will convene a panel discussion to engage in a spirited dialogue on how to address challenges the community faces.
“MLK Day provides meaningful ways to harness the passion of our nation’s citizens in honoring the memory and promotion the vision of Dr. King,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light. “By actively playing a role in uniting America in service, Alpha Kappa Alpha is bringing to life Dr. King’s goal of a ‘beloved community.’”
Reflecting on the importance of the series of events, President Stewart said, “We hope that the three days working in King’s memory will yield a model of peace and unity that will be sustained long after the events are over. This would be the ultimate tribute to King’s mission and message.”
She added that the spirit of the events support the spirit of Sorority’s programmatic theme: “Global Leadership through Timeless Service.”
For more information, log on to www.aka1908.com.