Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through service

January 20, 2013 By Susannah Brooks

On Monday, Jan. 21, local observances of Martin Luther King Jr. Day will include a number of activities that encourage celebration and collaboration. UW–Madison will again host and support some of these activities, expressing the Wisconsin Idea through “a day on, not a day off.”

On Friday, Jan. 18, the celebrations begin with the 26th annual Free Community Dinner. The event takes place on the second floor of UW–Madison’s new Gordon Commons, 770 W. Dayton St., from 4:30-7 p.m. Kobussen Buses will provide free shuttles to and from the dinner, with pickups are scheduled at the YWCA, 101 E Mifflin St. (departing at 5:45 p.m.) and Grace Episcopal Church, 116 W. Washington Ave. (departing at 5:55 p.m.).

On Monday, Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day begins with Badgers Serve: MLK Day of Service. The Wisconsin Union Directorate’s Alternative Breaks Committee will transport 150 UW–Madison students to Milwaukee to work in partnership with City Year Milwaukee. UW–Madison and City Year participants will work side by side with students and staffers at Milwaukee’s North Division High School painting murals and assisting with other activities to help brighten the learning environment.

Photo: MLK Day of Service


For the second year, Madison’s King Coalition joins with many community partners to present MLK Youth Service Day from 9 a.m-4 p.m. at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St. This free day of service and science encourages middle and high school students to become involved in their community and learn about science, technology, engineering, math and medical educational and career options.

Morning activities include a bioethics poetry slam, educational computer games and exploration of the nanoworld, microbes, food science and groundwater. In the afternoon, preregistered participants can participate in service projects for the community, such as assembling dental kits and tying blankets.

Youth Service Day is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Urban League of Greater Madison. Community and school groups are encouraged to register for Youth Service Day at http://www.ulgm.org/YSD2013.

The day rounds out with the popular city of Madison and Dane County celebration, taking place at the Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St. The evening begins with the return of a popular tradition, the Freedom Songs Sing-In, from 5-5:30 p.m. in the Overture Center’s Rotunda.

At 6 p.m., the City-County Observance begins in the Capitol Theater. Everett Mitchell, community relations director for UW–Madison as well as a prominent community leader outside of the university, will serve as master of ceremonies. Performers from UW–Madison’s First Wave Spoken Word and Hip-Hop Arts program will also present a spoken-word performance created for the event.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi will present city and county King Humanitarian awards. The celebration also includes a call to action and a performance by the MLK Community Choir.

Madison Metro buses will follow alternate schedules on Monday, Jan. 21. Campus routes 80 and 84 follow recess schedules, while most major city routes follow Saturday schedules. In addition, all standing paratransit rides are canceled. Maps of all bus detours and updated bus schedules are available at http://www.cityofmadison.com/metro/. For more information, contact Metro at 608-266-4466 or mymetrobus@cityofmadison.com.