(Editor’s Note: 45 years ago today, one of the greatest civil rights activiists, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated. To commemorate this man and his work towards equality for all, below is a reflection on the service City Year San Antonio performed to honor his legacy on MLK Day in January.)
City Year San Antonio MLK Day of Service ‘13
Written by Colton Foster, corps member at Sam Houston High School
On the morning of January 19th, more than 100 City Year Corps Members across San Antonio woke up early and made their way to one of five service projects sponsored by City Year for our annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. While standing in the middle of a cemetery before sunrise is not normally my idea of a good morning, I was excited to commemorate Dr. King’s legacy and his lifetime dedication to a cause greater than himself, even if it meant dedicating my Saturday morning.
That morning, corps members were spread out across San Antonio to start our service projects which included painting, building picnic tables and benches, trash pick-ups, mural painting, tree planting, mulching, and two builds with Habitat for Humanity. At our site at the cemetery, we were responsible for planting 93 trees that San Antonio Parks and Recreation provided and assisted in planting. We started by setting up breakfast and a registration table to welcome dozens of volunteers including groups from UTSA, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake University, members of the Air Force, a mother-son team, six high school exchange students hailing from Denmark, Germany, Pakistan, and Sweden, and a UT-Austin student hoping to join City Year later this year.
The volunteers’ excitement to be a part of service was evident; they worked diligently and I saw quickly that their effort put us well ahead of schedule. Just before lunch, I had a chance to share some fun City Year culture with everyone. The volunteers got to know each other through some icebreakers, such as a very competitive game of “You Can Be A Rock Star, Too!” before they sat down for burritos and pizza donated by local businesses.
As the volunteers made their way back to the trees, many were asking about City Year and our mission. Their interest and overall response to learning about the organization made me proud to be wearing one of our familiar red vests and proud to be honoring Dr. King’s legacy in the Alamo City.