Reclamation Hosts Martin Luther King Day Observance

Written by: Doug Hendrix

On January 14, Reclamation sponsored a special emphasis observance - Building Communities Through Positive Engagement - in celebration of the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Featured speakers included Dr. Farrah Cambrice, Assistant Professor of Sociology with Prairie View A&M University, who discussed the importance of building communities and rapport through positive engagement; and Rhonda Taylor, Deputy Director of Corporate Relations for AmeriCorps, who profiled how federal employees could get involved with meaningful volunteer opportunities during the MLK National Day of Service.

The event, broadcast to employees agency-wide via Microsoft Teams, featured Lara Grillos, Civil Rights Division Manager, serving as the primary host/moderator.

Recognizing Dr. King’s belief that "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve," both speakers emphasized that people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds can celebrate the day by performing individual acts of kindness through collective service to others.

During her remarks, Dr. Cambrice emphasized that her years of ethnographic research in community engagement have taught her the importance of learning the history and in building relationships and rapport within the environment or neighborhood in which you are working or interacting. In line with Dr. King, Dr. Cambrice believes that all life is interrelated and that all races benefit from a network of mutuality.

Similarly, Ms. Taylor noted the societal benefit that is achieved when we all engage in public service work with a goal of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.” Ms. Taylor also noted how employees can identify and become involved in a day or service and/or qualify a civic engagement event they are hosting for public participation.

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service is the only federal holiday that is designated by Congress as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”

Participation in service activities has grown each year as Americans are encouraged to provide meaningful change in their communities or in meeting a tangible societal need, such as fixing up a school or senior center; all of which builds a sense of community and shared responsibility.

Published on January 21, 2021