In Philadelphia, the Annual National Bell Ringing Ceremony, hosted by the Philadelphia Martin Luther King, Jr. Association for Nonviolence, Inc. drew politicians and dignitaries who spoke about Dr. King’s legacy.
“We need to have in all of our DNA what Dr. King had and that is to recognize people who work together and make a difference,” said Congressman Dwight Evans.
“He believed that love, peace and non -violence would always prevail over hate and evil,” said Dr. Williams Tucker, who is the President of the King Association.
Every year, the organization sponsors the event where the Liberty Bell is rung as a symbol of freedom and justice.
“His word undoubtedly changed many minds and hearts, but we know we still have a long way to go to create a country that is kind and accepting for everyone,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.
In North Philadelphia, Berean Presbyterian Church on Broad and Diamond Streets hosted a reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech and then volunteers from Temple University cleaned up the church. Pastor Michael Evans says the church has partnered with the university for over a decade for the event, where students, staff, athletes, and community members come together for a day of service.
“We want to be a community church. We’re in the community, we’re part of the community, Temple is a very large part of the community, so it’s very important to let them know that we care and we want to be functional,” said Evans.
Another event around the city was an Officers’ day of service with 16th district police at the James L. Wright Recreation Center in West Philadelphia. There, barbers offered free haircuts, resume experts helped community members, and a motivational speaker and DJ delivered free services to the neighborhood.
“I feel good, man, I feel empowered. I feel like I was ordered to do this part, the service part. I love giving free haircuts, I love offering what God has put in me as a gift and give it back to someone else,” said Prentice “P Michael” Boone, one of the barbers offering free haircuts. Boone says he took advantage of events like this when he was younger and he enjoys being able to give back now.
In Camden, volunteers helped paint the boxing gym and assemble care packages for people in need.
“Today is a day on, not a day off for us and we’re here at the north Camden community center sprucing this boxing gym for the wonderful future stars from the city of Camden,” said Camden Mayor Frank Moran.