By Ileana Angulo
On Monday, Jan. 20, people in the community came together to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. in the sixth annual MLK Day of Service. Stop the Violence hosted the event at its location on Virginia Avenue.
Day of Service consists of picking up trash around the neighborhoods in the community. Every year more adolescents choose to be a part of this event. About 150 people, of all ages and ethnicities, participated in this event.
The event began at 8 a.m. with breakfast and free distribution of orange and gray shirts. The gray shirts were for people who had a team or people who preregistered. Once groups gathered, gloves and trash bags were handed out.
Pastor Josephate Jordan, from a local church, immediately proceeded with prayer to initiate the trash pickup.People were designated to certain areas from Martin Luther King Boulevard to Virginia Avenue.Jordan has been involved with this event since it began in 2008.
“Every year there is an increase in people. The same individuals participate, but come with additional people each year,” Jordan said.Community involvement is growing because locals are now aware of trash being dumped on the streets.Delta Sigma Theta sorority from California State University, Bakersfield has been involved in this event for a few years.
CSUB alumna Brittney Smith said, “Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream for unity of people of all races, not only African Americans. In this event, it is evident we are fulfilling his dream.”
Impoverished neighborhoods in East Bakersfield need the most cleaning. Objects such as trash, glass and furniture lie in the streets.CSUB sophomore Viviana Flores, a part of the Project Explorer Program for six years, said, “Glass in the streets is dangerous for residents. Children could potentially get injured; every year we gather a detrimental amount of trash. It’s very gratifying to take trash off the streets and help the community.”
Stop the Violence leader Calvin Guilory Sr. drove a van full of volunteers from Shafter High School.Instead of sleeping in on a holiday, students chose to participate to help the community.“The goal of Stop the Violence is to empower youth by giving them different experiences, life skills and moral reasoning,” said Guilory.
Millie Allen, the coordinator of this event, said, “It takes approximately six months to plan this event and it takes at least 30 volunteers. It is great to see adolescent involvement increase every year.”The community will always remember Dr. King and what he fought for.
“MLK day signifies the legacy he left behind. A little bit of everybody has unified for a good day of service. People will continue making Dr. King’s dream a reality,” Allen said. Allen said.