Western to partner with Whatcom, BTC on MLK Day projects

Western Today staff

Whatcom Community College, Western Washington University and Bellingham Technical College students will join the larger community on Jan. 21 to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of social justice and equal opportunity. Participants will gather for the community-wide Poverty Action March & Essential Needs Drive, with student service projects to follow.

WCC, WWU and BTC will join thousands of Americans across the country honoring this National Day of Service by making the holiday a day on, not a day off.

The day will start with a free breakfast at Bellingham High School at 10 a.m.; Rosalinda Guillen, director of Community to Community Development, will be the featured speaker. Participants are encouraged to bring a donation item such as canned food, toiletries or clothing to the breakfast for the Essential Needs Drive. The Poverty Action March begin at 11 a.m., just after the breakfast. The march will begin and end at Bellingham High School. WWU’s Step2This team will kick off the march.

After the march, students will join in service projects including a Read-In at Village Books, painting at the Boys and Girls Club and volunteering to support the elderly through the Chore Program.

The march is inspired by the 1968 Poor People’s March on Washington D.C that was being planned by Dr. King and others, only months before his assassination, to bring attention to economic and social disparities for Americans living in poverty. WCC, WWU and BTC hope to trigger dialog around these topics and to generate further student volunteerism in Whatcom County.

This is the fourth year WCC and BTC have joined together for the MLK Day of Service, and the 14th year WWU has done the Read-In. This is the first year all three campuses are collaborating for this National Day of Service.

This event is sponsored by WCC’s Service-Learning Program, WWU’s Center for Service-Learning, BTC and WCC’s AmeriCorps Retention Projects, WCC’s VISTA Veteran and Community Support, local area high schools, and volunteers from local organizations including the Whatcom Volunteer Center and Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

Local businesses and organizations that help to make this event possible are: Oregon Campus Compact, College Access Grant, Alcoa, Whatcom Transportation Authority and Costco.

For more information and donation drop-off locations, please visit: www.whatcomvolunteer.org/events/mlk-day.

For more information on service projects, please visit: www.whatcom.ctc.edu/servicelearning/newsandevents.