Alaskans mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with giving
On Monday, some Alaskans got a day off from work in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr., but others considered it a day "on," dedicated to public service in the slain civil rights leader's name.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski reflected on King's legacy from Washington, D.C.
“Dr. King led a courageous fight against prejudice and discrimination, changing hearts and minds across the country," she said. "His unwavering mission to bring equality and a more civilized society to the United States is something we must remember through all walks of our lives."
Murkowski urged Alaskans to look to the example King set every day, which Undra Parker, pastor at Anchorage's Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, said included more than just King's memorable speeches.
"We don't just want to be talking about things. We actually want to get out and do things and that's what Dr. King was about," Parker said. "Instead of just talk, let's get out and take action."
The church led a donation drive for Bean's Cafe, the Brother Francis Shelter and the Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission. As the day progressed, piles of toilet paper, paper towels and cans of coffee stacked up on tables in the church gym.
"We are excited about whatever we get," Parker said, "and I believe the agencies will be excited about whatever they receive."
In a long-standing tradition, the Alaska Bar Association arranged free legal advice from attorneys volunteering their time at locations across the state, including the Boys and Girls Club in Mountain View.
In East Anchorage, organizers and volunteers with United Way of Anchorage hit the streets. They fanned out in a neighborhood near Susitna Elementary School, dropping off literature at people's doors about the resource referral line, Alaska 211.
"Probably people in this neighborhood don't know about it, but that's not to say they don't need help from it," said Ariane Kelsey, manager of volunteer and community engagement for the United Way.
"It's information about social services and I think that was something that was important to Martin Luther King," she said.
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