Empowering Youth through Service

Collage of kids involved in MLK Day activities.  Teen wearing t-shirt with Martin Luther King image on it and holding up arts and crafts they made.

Nearly 100 middle school students from all across Madison braved 20 below wind-chills this MLK day and chose to take a day on instead of a day-off. For years, the city has supported the widely known and celebrated Madison-Dane County MLK Day Observance, but did you know that the city also supports the MLK Youth Call to Service?

For decades, community partners, led by Urban League of Greater Madison and supported by MSCR, Madison Public Library, the Community Development Division (supporting planning and logistics), Partners for Afterschool Success, and others have been gathering teens on MLK Day to learn more about Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy, the civil rights movement as it was AND as it is, and the importance of service to our communities.

This year teens gathered to learn more about the ongoing struggle for justice from Freedom Inc., listened to and analyzed a speech MLK gave to middle school students in 1967 with Deana Wright, created and analyzed freedom songs with Dr. Fabu Carter, and created self-portraits with MPL's "Our Town Everywhere" initiative. They also heard from Terrence Roberts, one of the Little Rock Nine.  What's most inspiring is seeing so many teens and staff who work with teens choose to spend their time learning, growing, and committing to service.

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