INDIANAPOLIS — When it comes to federal holidays, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the only one designated as a national day of service.
Projects happened across Central Indiana, and on the city’s far east side, dozens of volunteers came out to the Far Eastside Neighborhood Community Center.
“We all woke up with a purpose and intentionality. As Martin Luther King said, 'everybody can be great because anybody can serve,' and so we are here to live out that dream of service,” said Kiahna Davis, president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Indianapolis Chapter.
Her organization was one of two groups the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside, better known as C.A.F.E., hosted on MLK Day.
Davis joined her members and several of their family members in putting together feminine hygiene bags and help organize C.A.F.E.’s diaper donations and community pantry. Service is an integral part of the organization’s values.
“When you asked what is something that we can do different as a city to make sure that his message lives on is beyond just saying the words, make sure that it's put in actions and visible actions as well,” C.A.F.E. CEO Kendra Nowell said.
Indy Black Millennials also came together to give back to the community.
“Dr. King his legacy was happening during a pretty rough season of our history so even in this tough season of our history we’re still able to carry on that legacy,” said Tony Hart, event chair for Indy Black Millennials.
Service is a core value for the millennial organization founded in 2018.
“Our organization, we care a lot about our community because this is where we work, play and eat. So, you know if our community is doing well, we're doing well. So that means a lot to us. And that's why we're here,” Indy Black Millennials president and founder Bunmi Akintomide said.
The group worked to make more than 200 PPE bags, filled with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and will soon also include an at-home COVID-19 test.
“We feel like it’s really essential especially during these times to show the character of Dr. King especially as a group of millennials who care about our city and just spread the love,” Hart said.
The PPE bags will be given out during C.A.F.E.’s weekly food distribution starting back up next Monday. They also put together other grab-n-go bags filled with personal hygiene products.
“One of Dr. Martin Luther King's quote says everyone can be great because anyone can serve and I think that just makes you long as you can with a good heart you're able to position yourself to help someone else in need and it's not just a handout it's a hand up,” said Hollin Bolden, director of partnerships for Indy Black Millennials.
Living out Dr. King’s message does not stop on MLK Day.
“Dr. King did not take a rest is always working hard and that's what we need to continue to do man it's not just like oh you know black millennials everybody,” Akintomide said.
These millennials agree there is still a way to go when it comes to fulfilling Dr. King’s dream, and service plays a big part in it all.
“I think Dr. King will be proud because we come a very very long way but at the end of the day there's always opportunity so I think we should be encouraged not discouraged to say that we come further than not,” Hollin said.