Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed each year on the third Monday in January.
In King’s honor, the Columbia Urban League’s Annual MLK Breakfast will be held at 8 a.m., Monday, at the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center at 1066 Sunset Blvd., West Columbia.
The theme of the MLK Breakfast is economic empowerment. The keynote speaker is University of South Carolina President Robert Caslen.
Dr. King, the civil rights icon, was assassinated on April 4, 1968. The day set aside to honor his memory is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
Local leaders Dr. Charles Jackson and West Columbia Councilman Mickey Pringle encourage participation in volunteer service in honor of King.
Jackson is the senior pastor at Brookland Baptist Church. The church is home to the largest congregation in West Columbia. Jackson said the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have had a major impact on his ministry.
“Fortunately, during my time in seminary at the Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia,” Jackson said, “I was one of five chosen to study Dr. King’s Educational Model for Social Change.”
In that year, Jackson examined King’s life and ministry, while reading his sermons and speeches. From his studies, Jackson said he found out first-hand how service-oriented King was.
“We are great when we serve,” said Jackson. “Service to others makes us greater.”
Jackson said King was a true servant, and participating in community service is a way to honor and pay tribute to King.
Brookland Baptist Church is a ministry of service, Jackson said. The three goals of the church are to win souls for Christ, transform lives and make a difference in the community.
The Brookland-Lakeview Empowerment Center – sponsored by the church- provides a support system for families in the Community through its service. The center offers programs ranging from mentoring and athletic fellowship for young people to activities and social opportunities for seniors.
Councilman Pringle is a volunteer at the center. He helps deliver meals to the elderly and he administers food programs to students in need when they are not in school.
“Serve is what we are supposed to do,” said Pringle. He said he has been blessed and it’s important that he gives back to others.
Pringle, a retired educator and former public school principal, also said MLK Day is an opportune time to teach history. He said it is important to spend time educating younger generations about what King stood for.
“I think it’s a good time to talk to kids about the legacy of Dr. King,” Pringle said. “We need to talk to the children about what those who came before us faced and the sacrifices they made.”
In West Columbia, community service is strong and MLK Day is a reminder of its importance.
To find out how you can do more to serve locally go to: http://brooklandlakeview.org/programs-services