MLK Day of Service 2022

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Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s MLK Day of Service 2022

By Katie Holmes, AmeriCorps Member, Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Some of the 195 wonderful volunteers who participated in our 2022 MLK Day of Service. Photo c/o Dora Sims, Five Points West Community President.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is even more than a federal holiday meant to commemorate the civil rights leader’s extraordinary legacy. It is also one of our National Days of Service, which challenge Americans to step up and work to improve their communities. As Dr. King said, “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

This past Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Black Warrior Riverkeeper partnered with the Five Points West Neighborhood Association to orchestrate a volunteer cleanup across the Belview Heights, Ensley Highlands, Bush Hills, Fairview, Central Park, and Green Acres neighborhoods. Unfortunately, these neighborhoods have become a hotbed of illegally dumped garbage. But despite the abundance of trash and bitterly cold weather, 195 amazing volunteers dedicated their day to addressing the ongoing litter problem.

A variety of organizations, including United Way Hands On, Miles College, the Municipal Court, Birmingham-Southern College, Morton Law Firm, 5 Points West CrossPlex Business Alliance, and Ramsay High School, collaborated to recruit volunteers and make this cleanup a success. We were also honored to be joined by members of Birmingham’s City Council; Councilor Wardine Alexander from District 7 and Councilor Carol Clarke from District 8.

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” -The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo by Katie Fagan, Black Warrior Riverkeeper.

Five Points West is adjacent to Valley Creek, which flows into the Black Warrior River. By removing hundreds of pounds of trash from the area, the volunteers didn’t just positively impact their immediate community – they also positively impacted the watershed itself by preventing garbage from entering the creek and flowing downstream.

This summer, Five Points West will be one of the sites of the 2022 World Games. All eyes will be on Birmingham, and this cleanup is a testament to the motivation of Birmingham residents to improve their community. Their service sets the positive example that anyone and everyone can get involved to make a tangible difference.

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” -The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

To learn more about serving your community through Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s volunteer projects, visit

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