The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Madison, Jan. 20, marks the 25th anniversary of the day of service that will celebrate the civil right’s leader’s life and legacy. Here in Madison, the MLK Day Youth Call to Service is a chance for young people throughout Dane County to have a fun day in Dr. King’s memory while they dedicate themselves to service.
The Urban League has been involved with the MLK Youth Service Day for decades and has had various partners through the year. On Monday, Jan. 20, 12:30-5 p.m. at Madison Public Library in downtown Madison they will be inviting middle and high school youth across Dane County to attend the MLK Day Youth Call to Service.
“What we really wanted to focus on this year are the movements in general,” Andrew Schilcher, director of Middle School Programs at the Urban League of Greater Madison, tells Madison365. “We know that when we’ve gotten feedback from students that they don’t learn a whole lot about the civil rights movement in schools, so we wanted to bring that voice to the event.”
Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara, a professor at UW-Madison, will lead a workshop on the Historical Civil Rights Movement. Tamera Stanley will host a workshop on Historical Freedom Songs. Hip-hop artist Rob Dz will talk about Modern Freedom Songs/Civil Rights in Modern Music and activist Brandi Grayson will host a workshop on Modern Civil Rights Movements.
The King Coalition is hosting the event this year in partnership with the Urban League of Greater Madison, City of Madison, Dane County, MSCR, Madison Out of School Time (MOST), Madison Public Library, and United Way of Dane County.
Beyond the interactive workshops, the MLK Day Youth Call to Service will also feature a brief march around the Wisconsin State Capitol and participation in the Freedom Sing-In at the Overture Center. There will also be a free lunch for the students.
Back in the day, the MLK Youth Service Day would be a chance for young people to meet up before spreading out to do service projects throughout the city in “a day on, not a day off.” This year, there will be an official from Serve Wisconsin, whose mission is to promote service, provide training and allocate resources to programs that enrich lives and communities through service and volunteerism. They will be speaking with the students on the importance of service and how to plan service projects.
“The event that we’re hosting this year, like last year, is more of a call to service,” Schilcher says. “We’re challenging the students in attendance to plan their own service projects and be of service to each other over the full calendar year as opposed to having service projects available during the actual event. It’s pretty tricky to find meaningful service for 200 students to do in the dead of winter when there are outdoor projects that would be able to take on large numbers of students that wouldn’t be available.”
Area youth can register in groups through their school, local community center, or youth groups. The organizers ask that they are accompanied by at least 1 adult chaperone for every 10 students in the group.
The MLK Day Youth Call to Service will take place Monday, Jan. 20, 12:30-5 p.m. at Madison Public Library, 201 W. Mifflin St. To register your group, contact Andrew Schilcher at firstname.lastname@example.org.