MLK Day of Service 2024

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Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s MLK Day of Service 2024

By Mary Allen Murray, AmeriCorps Member, Black Warrior Riverkeeper

Volunteers in Birmingham pictured with the dumpster full of trash they removed from the watershed on MLK Day.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is more than just a day off. It is a day of remembrance, providing an opportunity for people across the country to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy. This includes his significant contributions to the civil rights movement, tireless advocacy for justice and equality, and dedication to serving others. In 1994, MLK Day was officially designated a National Day of Service through the enactment of the King and Holiday Service Act. This aimed to transform the federal holiday into a day of service, encouraging Americans to take action in their communities by engaging in volunteer activities and events for the betterment of society.

Volunteers weighing the trash they collected throughout the morning.

In the spirit of honoring his legacy of service to others, Black Warrior Riverkeeper hosted simultaneous watershed cleanups in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

In Birmingham, we partnered with Birmingham City Council District 1, Keep Birmingham Beautiful, and Rebirth Christian Fellowship. Volunteers united to clean up the streets in the surrounding area. These efforts extended beyond our organization as volunteers from Cahaba Riverkeeper and Freshwater Land Trust also gave their time and support.

In Tuscaloosa, we partnered with The University of Alabama Center for Service and Leadership. Students from The University of Alabama worked together to remove trash along the Black Warrior Riverwalk by the Park and Manderson Landing. The city of Tuscaloosa generously provided gloves and grabbers for the volunteers.

Despite the frigid conditions, a combined total of 49 volunteers came out and joined in the cleanup effort. Together, we removed nearly 2,200 pounds of trash from the Black Warrior River watershed, making a substantial difference in preserving the beauty and health of our local environment.

Student volunteers from The University of Alabama Center for Service and Leadership.

Dr. King once said, “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” As we take the time to honor his life and achievements, let us be reminded that positive change starts at a grassroots level. Our cleanup events aim to embody this philosophy and showcase that every effort, no matter how small, contributes to uplifting our communities and protecting our environment.

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us on Monday for this day of service. You are making a difference in our community and the work of nonprofit organizations like Black Warrior Riverkeeper is not possible without your support.

If you want to become more involved with Black Warrior Riverkeeper, please visit or contact Mary Allen Murray at [email protected].

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