CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Monday marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. To honor his legacy, Chattanooga’s Office of Multicultural Affairs organized a Day of Service, where hundreds of volunteers use their off day to serve the community.
Those volunteers spread throughout Chattanooga neighborhoods this morning to clean, paint, repair, and beautify, all while embracing one of Dr. King’s famed quotes: “The time is always right to do what is right.”
“When I saw the gym today, just the fact that we can need a gymnasium to meet in for all the volunteers that show up is just fantastic,” said Chyela Rowe, a Chattanooga creative arts therapist.
The day kicked off at UTC’s Maclellan Gym, where performers from Southern Adventist University welcomed volunteers with singing and entertainment.
Mayor Andy Berke spoke to the crowd before sending them off to more than 50 different service projects around the community.
“It was really inspiring and beautiful to see a bunch of people come out early in the morning on a day off, and come do whatever the were asked to do just in the spirit of service,” said Greta McLain, the Minneapolis muralist in charge of the new Wilcox Tunnel mural.
At the Carver Center, Baylor senior Morgan Blake organized a paint project for the center’s new yoga room.
“It’s for the kids who come here every day for tutoring.,” said Blake, who also volunteers to tutor at the center. “We want to give them an opportunity to use this space instead of getting into trouble. It’s a space to relax and be calm.”
Across town, a muralist from Minneapolis transformed the Eastdale Center to an art studio. There, volunteers painted about 400 square feet of the new Wilcox Tunnel mural, set to be unveiled in March.
“When I came in, I assumed everyone already knew each other, and it turns out they really didn’t. I thought everyone was going to be from the same area. They weren’t. So there was a lot of cool intersections happening,” McLain said. “Hopefully the connections that were made today, they’ll remember when they see the mural installed.”
More worked at churches, parks and housing developments, rehabilitating the city of Chattanooga.
“I love the spirit of people who want to come and just make the city better,” Rowe added.
“I just hope that people understand how awesome service is and I hope they get a taste for it like I did,” Blake said.